This weeks newspaper blog:
Hello my fellow bakers, we are now well in to the New Year and I hope 2014 is a good one for you all. What a fabulous time I have had over the last few days, not least was the impromptu invite to the party celebration for Sarah’s 60th birthday, congratulations Sarah!!! I was asked some time ago to provide a surprize birthday cake for Sarah which was planned by Jezza (the writer of the column I rarely read as it is about something I have no idea about – sport!!) the cake was enjoyed by all!!
Fortunately I do (think) I know about cakes and therefore I will this week repeat my ‘rules’ for cake-making follow these and you too can make perfect cakes every-time. There are literally thousands of recipes for cakes, using these rules allows you to follow any one of them. General recipes omit these important steps. So here they are:
So this week let us speak about oven temperatures. I have previously mentioned that you need to check your oven as some run on the hot side and some on the cold side, you really do need to know your oven for successful cake making. The simple Victoria sponge has very few ingredients, which are whisked until light and fluffy then the dry ingredients are folded in so that you do not lose the air, it is very important to place this cake immediately in the centre of a hot oven 180 degrees so that it cooks quickly and evenly, you end up with a light golden sponge which is perfect for adding fresh whipped cream and some really good jam, add a dusting of icing sugar over the top and voila the perfect centre piece, this cake is always a winner.
So what’s that to do with ovens you may ask, well the Victoria sponge is lovely, but not really ideal for the celebration cake maker as celebration cakes need to be covered and decorated over a period of a few days, fresh whipped cream cannot be put in the centre as the cream will collapse and of course spoil as the cake will be out of the fridge over a long period, (a bigger problem here on Ibiza with the heat!!) The cake also needs to be heavier – yes I know I have been speaking about making cakes light and fluffy, but this can only be within reason when it has to cut and filled then topped with icing and decorations, carved into shapes and finally often stacked with other cakes. So this is where the oven plays its part. The madeira cake has the same ingredients as the Victoria sponge, the difference is that it is cooked really slowly, even wrapping the outside of the tin with newspaper so that it helps to slow down the cooking process, the cake has the same flavour but the finished product does not rise so much and has a much denser finish, which when cool is perfect for cutting and carving, the cake also keeps much longer, the typical Victoria sponge is good for only a day or two, the madeira cake lasts easily 10 days, which gives the cake maker the time needed to decorate and deliver. This process of cooking the cake slowly is ideal on many types of cakes and especially for a celebration cake, my rich dark chocolate cake spends nearly 2 hours in the oven, so do many of my other ‘perfected’ recipes.
One more point this ‘slow’ method is not necessary for cupcakes, even celebration cupcakes do not need this as each one is individual and supported by the ‘case’ therefore they are best kept light and fluffy even when adding decoration.
So on that note, I wish you all a fabulous week, happy baking,
Till next week Ibiza’s Queen of cakes. xx