When our eldest lad turned ten last September, we had a cake made. It was nice, but it was massive and I couldn't help but feel that we had paid €45 for what was, essentially, a lump of icing on a cakeboard.
When the twins were due to turn one in October, I decided that I'd give the cake a go myself. I didn't want anything fancy schmancy - they weren't even having any of it - but I knew what I didn't want. With that in mind, I turned to the Mother of Cakes - Mary Berry.
Her all-in-one Victoria Sandwich recipe seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. A tasty cake that everyone could enjoy, with no big lumps of icing. As much as I love the gorgeous looking creations on Pinterest, I hate icing. Hate it. With a passion.
I did a practice run, and got the ingredients in Tesco. The total price (including the stuff for filling) was well under €15. Big difference from €45! There were even ingredients left over for the next time.
You Will Need:
* 4 Free-Range Eggs.
* 225g Caster Sugar.
* 225g Self-Raising Flour - or 225g Plain Flour and 2 tsp Baking Powder.
* 225g Baking Spread or Margarine.
* Strawberry Jam
* Fresh Strawberries
* Whipping Cream
* Frosting (Optional - I used a ready-made tub of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting)
* Sprinkles (Optional)
Take your butter and eggs out of the fridge and leave them out for a half an hour before making the cake.
Preheat oven to Gas 4/180c/350f.
Grease two 8-inch Sandwich Tins with a tiny bit of the baking spread, and then line them with greaseproof paper. Turn the tins upside down on the paper and draw around them to get the right size.
After that - throw all the cake ingredients in a bowl together and mix with a hand or electric whisk. THAT IS IT.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
They're done when they are golden brown and starting to come away from the edge of the tins. Whip your cream when the cakes are baking - don't overwhip.
Turn them out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Put one of the sponges on your serving plate, right side up, then spread with a layer of strawberry jam. You can add some chopped fresh strawberries if you want - I didn't bother with them for the practice cake. Then add a generous dollop of whipped cream and spread out.
Spread another layer of jam on to the top of the other sponge (right side up), then put it on top of the other cake, jam side down. That just makes sure that your dodgy bumpy tops are covered and your cake looks nice!
For the actual birthday cake, He Who is Afraid of Chemists suggested that it "doesn't look fancy enough". Hummph. So I bought a big tub of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting, some sprinkles, and went at the second version of my cake with a piping bag and some fresh strawberries.
I know it looks a bit amateur but I am not Mary Berry - it was delicious. Seriously, there wasn't a scrap of it left. That's probably a good thing, considering the amount of butter and sugar gone into it - but it was SO YUMMY.
I'm not going to go into calories, Syns, ProPoints, etc - it's a Birthday Cake. One lovely big slice of it a few times a year isn't going to kill any of us.
Roll on next family birthday!!