Yes, hello, sorry sorry I’ve been away for a bit. I’ve been baking OBVIOUSLY but it’s all been repeats of the usual suspects (I won’t keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what they are. Anzacs, of course, and banana bread, mostly).
Life’s been a bit busy. No-one, amongst the literal mountain of usually un-asked for advice given to me whilst upduff, mentioned the frantic social lives babies have. New Human needs his own social secretary. It’s utterly ridiculous. I should admit that prior to NewHuman’s arrival I was a bit unconvinced that there was any value in things like ‘music for newborns’ and ‘early swimming’. I have subsequently come to my senses and understand now that these classes have sweet eff all to do with the baby, and are entirely for the parent’s benefit. It’s to help you escape the otherwise doomy daily stodge of housebound chores.
I’d hate to make you think I’m either (i) unhappy or (ii) finding NewHuman a drudge. Not at all. In fact, after starting to feel, around his 4th and 5th week of life, that I’d really just been a caretaker for a rather floppy piece of semi-functional human, I needed him to start giving back. Whilst not yet evidencing any serious levels of cognitive understanding, NewHuman clearly heard me and produced a smile or two. Mostly for my Mum, the boyfriend and the dog rather than me, but at least it was something. He is improving daily, in terms of entertainment value. Lucky for him.
Right, the below is something from my Ma’s childhood, and which I remember my Nana making. Honey Sponge with what Nana would call ‘mock cream’. The term ‘mock [anything]’ fills me with horror after a rather unfortunate dalliance with mock chicken as a young teenager. I was very relieved to find out it was just a wartime term for what we, these days, call buttercream icing. Or frosting, depending on your country of origin.
I believe this cake used to make Ma the most popular girl on her dorm whenever Nana would deliver one to boarding school. If only I’d known that when I was at school. Cake. Solves all the social dilemmas. Shame you can’t get drunk on cake.
Preheat your oven to about 180-190C or so. Grease and line the bottom of a round cake tin. No idea how big the one I used was, sorry, I forgot to measure it. Maybe in the low 20cm range? Nice and deep, though, please, none of this shallow cake tin shit.
For the cake:
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup self raising flour
2 heaped teaspoons plain flour (I have just realised I put in two heaped tablespoons. Worked fine)
1 teaspoon all spice (I used mixed spice)
1 teaspoon ground cinammon
3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda (I used a whole teaspoon. I clearly cocked up this whole cake)
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
For the buttercream:
250g butter, softened a bit
good splash of vanilla essence, or vanilla paste, or both, like I used
1 packet, ie: 500g, icing sugar. I used golden. It was all the Sainsbury’s Local had.
Whisk the egg whites, with a pinch of salt, adding the caster sugar in bits. Stop when it just gets to stiffish peaks. See above.
Then add the egg yolks and honey, bicarb and tartar/baking powder – should take 5-10 seconds with the beaters.
Then fold in the flours and spices with a spatula, using the scrape-and-cut technique. You know, scrape around the sides, scoop the spatula through the middle. You just want to combine the mix with the dry stuff without losing all the air. Don’t fuck it up, I am not an expert on sponges but I’m pretty confident they’re famous for being light.
Into the cake tin and then into the oven for 30 mins.
We’ve been allowing perfectly natural photo opportunities to occur, encouraging interaction between NewHuman and the dog. The above clearly required no parental manipulation, nor did the dog look at all concerned.
Anyway, while the cake is cooking, make the buttercream. Blend the butter and vanilla, then add the icing sugar in stages. It’ll be a bloody mess.
Also, if you’re me, it’ll burn out the handbeaters. The handbeaters will be broken and are now scheduled for official disposal. Very sad.
Put the buttercream in the fridge.
Take the cake out, let it sit in the tin a few mins, then take out. The tin I used had one of those removal bottoms, wasn’t a springform though. Pretty sure anything would do.
Let it cool.
Cut the cake in half. You’ll see from the above that I clearly over-cooked this one. I am an average baker, I have never pretended to be anything else.
Fill it with ALL THE BUTTERCREAM. It’ll seem like a shitload. It is a shitload. The cake can take it.
Put the two halves together and dust with icing sugar.
Below is the finished cake, framed nicely by my friend P’s boobs.
Enjoy (both the cake and the boobs).