Whether you’re trying your hand at delicate macarons, building a birthday cake masterpiece or just throwing together some fairy cakes on a rainy afternoon with the kids, baking can be cheap and easy no matter what size your kitchen is, or how much time you have. Even if you are a novice, there are plenty of recipes available to make things easy for you.
Here are the simple steps you’ll need to follow to create the perfect sponge.
The right tools
Every good baker needs these equipment basics before getting started:
- Baking tins come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so get a round heavy duty tin for a standard sized cake. If you’re making cupcakes, get a muffin tray and cupcake cases.
- Electrical or hand mixers are essential for beating ingredients together and creating some air to achieve the perfect rise.
- Fluff up your ingredient measurements even slightly and you are headed for a baking disaster – invest in a pair of scales and a measuring jug.
- Sieves are necessary to rid your mixture of any lumpy bits.
- You’ll need a big bowl and spoon to mix everything in!
Perfect a sponge mixture recipe and you’re well on your way to becoming the next Martha Stewart. This vanilla recipe will make 12 cupcakes or one cake:
- 110g/4oz room temperature margarine
- 110g/4oz caster sugar
- 110g/4oz self-raising flour
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Mix the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs along with the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and slowly add in the milk. Give it a whisk with the mixer and pour into your cases or tray. Bake for 15 minutes.
Perfect buttercream frosting
Buttercream frosting is what a makes a simple cupcake decadent. Combine around around 150g of butter, with 280g of icing sugar with a whisk (add a little milk if it gets too stiff to stir), then once it has reached a soft consistency add in a few drops of food colouring in your favourite shade.
If you want to try your hand at something more challenging, mix two different colours separately and add to a piping bag for a marbled effect, or for an added extra, try grating a tiny shaving of hazelnut into the mixture for additional flavour.
When the cakes have cooled, it’s time to pour a cup of tea or coffee, kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Unless of course you have visitors – then you will have to share them!