FAMILY OCCASION ALL-PURPOSE CAKE!

This recipe is an old family tradition. My mum used to make it for any birthday in the house. It can be upsized to a bigger cake or smaller scaling down the weights from 110g of everything and two eggs, to 225g of everything and four eggs. You can also flavour it anyway you like. My favourite is chocolate, obviously, followed by lemon in second place.

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 2 smallish Victoria sponge cake tins
  • Grease-proof paper
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Splash of milk
  • Raspberry jam optional

For the Buttercream icing

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 110g butter
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Or for the Chocolate icing (my favourite)

  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 30g butter
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

TOP TIP! I normally make the icing before I make the cake so I don’t have to wash the food processor twice!

If you're making the BUTTERCREAM icing:

If you have a food mixer, tip the icing sugar and cocoa in there on their own and with the lid on whizz for a few seconds – this sieves the powder and rids it of lumps. If doing by hand, sieve into a bowl.

Next add the butter and lemon and blitz until it turns to a creamy consistency. It’s now ready to use.

If you're making the CHOCOLATE icing:

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a pan over a very low heat, taking it off the heat when the chocolate is almost done, and stirring until everything is melted. Mix in the icing sugar and lemon juice. Let it cool slightly before using it.

Now for the CAKE...

When you’ve made the icing, set the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Next draw round the bottom of one of the cake tins twice on the grease-proof paper and cut out the circles. Grease the cakes tins and line the bottoms of both with the cut out paper circles.

Melt the chocolate either in the microwave on a high temperature for two minutes, checking halfway to make sure it doesn’t burn. Or you can melt over a pan of water in a bowl, careful not to get any water in the chocolate. Leave it aside to cool slightly.

Next cream the sugar and butter together in a food mixer. Then add the flour and bicarb and mix together with the creamed butter and sugar. You may need to taste it at this point to make sure it doesn’t taste vile. NOM NOM – I love cake mixture!

Add the melted chocolate and give the mixture a good old whizz. Time for the eggs – crack them without dropping any of the eggshell in the cake mix. Crunchy! Add a splash of milk and mix it for a few minutes until it is the consistency of a batter – smooth and glistening. This gets lots of air into the mix and makes the sponge fluffy.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and try and get them as level as possible. Place both tins in the middle of the oven and leave for 20 minutes or until the cakes are springy to the touch. Insert a skewer into the middle to see if it comes out clean. If it does – the cake is ready!

When the cake is cooled, you can ice it! First spread butter cream on top of the cake that is going to be the bottom later. If you also fancy raspberry jam in the centre, spread a layer of that on the bottom of the top layer cake. Sandwich them both together. Place the cake on a plate and spread icing all round the sides with a knife, smoothing it as you go and then finish off by icing the top. I tend to decorate with sweets like Rowntree’s Randoms because they are cool colours and have less dodgy additives in them. But you can use anything. The cake in the picture at the top of the page has Maltesers and sprinkles

Look, I even made my own wedding cake last year when I married Saint Neil!

If you want to try my favourite icing you need to buttercream the middle and the sides of the cake and then pour the chocolate icing on the top and watch it slide down over the edge and down the sides. I then decorate it with sweets or whatever and leave it to set in the fridge.