The primary reason for this blog is to share reviews of books. But along the way, I noticed that quite a number of the books that I’ve read and reviewed always mention and entree’, dessert, or appetizer within the story. So, that is why I’ve come up with Weekly Recipe Wednesday. I scour the internet looking for that perfect recipe and sometimes, an author will share the recipes that appears in their novel. So here it is. This is the inaugural launch of Weekly Recipe Wednesday. Today’s recipe is from author, Claire Huston. I consider her an accomplished baker since I’m such a slog at it. The recipe here is from a reference to a sponge cake in her novel, Art & Soul. Since most of my followers are dessert lovers, I’ll probably share all of Claire Huston’s cake recipes over the next several weeks interspersing some savory recipes.
Simple School Sponge Cake with White Icing and Multi-colored Sprinkles
- 200 g butter/margarine (7 oz or approx. 7/8 of a cup)
- 175 g caster sugar (6 oz or approx. 3/4 of a cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 ml) or vanilla essence
- 3 eggs (medium or large is fine)
- 200 g self raising flour (7 oz or approx. 1+3/4 cups)
For the decoration
- 225g icing sugar (8oz or approx. 1+3/4 cups), preferably sieved
- 2-3 tbsp water (start with 1 and build up gradually so your icing isn’t too thin)
- Coloured sugar sprinkles/ sugar strands of your choice
- Optional food colouring if you’d like colourful icing
This school sponge cake is made is a rectangular tray and ideally is should rise only a little and evenly to give you a flat surface to ice.
Grease your tray and line with baking paper. My rectangular tin measures 32 x 19 cm and 3 cm deep. In inches that’s 12.5 x 7.5 and just over an inch deep. You can use any shape baking tin for this recipe as long as it has a similar volume to the one I used.
Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees C (140 if using a fan oven)/ 325 degrees F (275F fan) or Gas Mark 3.
If making the old school sponge cake by hand (or if you don’t mind spending a little more time on the steps), I’d suggest creaming together the butter and sugar first, until light and fluffy. This can take several minutes of mixing, even if using electric beaters. Add the eggs, beating the cake mixture after each egg. And the vanilla, then stir the flour in gently until all the ingredients have combined into a smooth mixture. Watch out for hidden pockets of flour lurking at the bottom of the bowl! If you’re using an electric stand mixer to make the cake, you can put all the ingredients in it and combine in one go.
Pour your sponge cake mixture into your prepared baking tray and bake for 25-35 minutes. Keep an eye on your cake. When it goes a golden brown it’s time to take it out. If in doubt, stick a knife into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, your sponge cake is done.
I left mine in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
When your cake has cooled you can get to the fun part – the icing!
I used ordinary icing sugar and added a little water until I got the consistency I wanted (not too runny or it will all slide off the cake leaving only a translucent layer). I would recommend starting with 225 g / 8 oz icing sugar (preferably sieved) and adding 1 tablespoon of water to the sugar as a start. Stir the water into the sugar, then add another spoonful of water, mix thoroughly again, and keep going in this way until you get the thickess of icing you want (it should coat the back of the spoon you’re using to mix the icing and run off slowly). Don’t panic if your icing goes too thin: you can “rescue” it by adding a little more icing sugar to thicken it up again. Of course, if you’d like pink icing, or any other colour, you only need to add a few drops of food colouring to your basic white icing mix.
Pour the icing all over the top of your cake. Once your school sponge cake is covered in the icing, sprinkle over your hundreds and thousands, coloured sugar strands, sprinkles or any other decorations you fancy.
Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Recipe Wednesday. You may be surprised at what I have in store.