Cake. It’s not that difficult. We all know the eating is easy, especially if in cupcake or muffin form, the joy about these being that they are also portable snacks of sugary love. Actually the hard part is sometimes restraining yourself from eating that 3rd slice!
Seriously though, making a cake is not difficult but why do so many people think that it is? Some dinner dishes require more effort and organisation than making a cake which can take around 30mins to make and bake. And remember, whilst the cake is in the oven; you are doing nothing!
“Baking a cake is purely scientific; alchemy. There is an elemental change between the ingredients. Flour, sugar, butter and eggs the ubiquitous quartet of ingredients in every sponge cake.”
I read somewhere that there are 3 cardinal rules when baking a cake:
- all ingredients should be at room temperature
- the oven should be at the required temp when you put in the cake batter into the oven
- keep to the tin dimensions specified – a cake demands mathematical respect.
All 3 make sense in a scientific way. (i) If you add cold eggs to the creamed butter mixture it will probably cause the mixture to solidify and seize. Cold butter would just be impossible to cream with the sugar. (ii) if the oven is cold as when you put the batter in, the gradual rise in temp will cook the batter at a slow rate and then be undercooked by the end of its cooking time. (iii) a wider tin will create a shallower sponge.
So with these few words of cake baking advice I proceeded to making a coffee and walnut cake.
Coffee and Walnut Cake
For the sponge:
1st: Cream together 225g of butter with 225g of caster sugar.
3rd: Make a very strong cup of coffee and add 2 tblspns to the mixture. Leave the remaining coffee for the icing.
4th: Add 50g of walnut pieces to the mixture. Mix through.
5th: Divide the mixture between 2 sandwich tins. Place in a moderate oven and bake for 30mins.
For the buttercream icing:
1st: Sift 350g of icing sugar into a bowl.
2nd: Add 175g of butter to another bowl and gradually mix in the icing sugar.
3rd: Add a tblspn of coffee to this and mix in.
Once the two cake halves are cool you can start assembling your cake. Decorate as you wish. I don’t really go in for the ceremonious symmetrical design of walnut halves around the edge. I prefer getting the remaining packet of walnut pieces and covering the top with it. Easier and much less fuss.
This cake calls for a cup of coffee with it to echo the coffee flavouring within the cake. I think I hear a piece calling me now!