Tuesday, 17 September 2013

making Lydia's cake

We've had a couple of birthday's in the family of late.  The big girl wanted a shop bought cake, but the boy wanted me to make him a birthday cake.  Both of them agreed that the cake is the best thing I cook.  The bar is set pretty low on this, because the children say that the other good things I cook are scrambled eggs, and cereal.  

However, the cake is rather yummy, so I thought I would share the recipe with you, in case you fancy making one at home.  This recipe was handed down from my Grandma (Lydia), to my Mum, to me.  I'm guessing it was a wartime recipe as it has little fat and no eggs in it, but I don't know.  It is a good recipe if you need to make a cake for people with allergies.  If you are wanting a really special birthday cake you'd need to go to someone who was blooming good at this, like Moore than Cakes in Ilkley, or Viking Cupcakes in Largs.  There are lots of other good local cake bakers, so please do let people know about them in the comments below.

Here goes (all photos by me btw)!  Please note that this post was amended on 22nd September in light of advice from Mary at Moore than Cakes.  Thank you Mary.  It was like Grandma had baked it!

Lydia's birthday cake

The main cake ingredients.  Other makes are fine

(my apologies for the Imperial measurements - it's all I've got!)

1oz margarine (or butter if you want)

2oz sugar (normal is fine)
2 tbsp syrup (golden)
6oz self raising flour
1oz cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 pt warm water

You'll want to decorate the cake too.  For a birthday cake I make a chocolate butter icing for the top, and use chocolate spread inside (this is the recipe I describe below).  For this you will need (prepare for absolutely no measurements)

margarine or butter

icing sugar
chocolate spread
also some sweets or chocolate sprinkles, because sometimes more is more.

This cake is also rather awesome as Lydia made it.  She had a sprinkling of icing sugar on the top and pristine white butter-icing (if you want white butter icing, you're in for a lot of whisking) in the middle.  To make the butter icing you need icing sugar, butter or margarine, and a whole lot of whisking.  I'd recommend a bit of vanilla essence too.

How to make it

I feel obliged to sieve the dry ingredients in
but you could just be a daredevil and put them
straight in there.
First of all stick the oven on at 160C.

Get your cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper or baking parchment, and grease.

Whizz up the margarine, sugar and syrup.  Then add the flour, cocoa and salt.  Mix well.

Dissolve the soda in the water and add to the mixture, mixing well again.

The mixture, pre cooking.  Please make sure you
lick the spoon.  My greaseprrof paper comes
up pretty high in this pic, but that's only because
I didn't bother to check the right size when I was
cutting it.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until done.  My oven is quite hot.  Lydia's recipe says about 30 minutes.  You'll know your own oven... or if you don't you can always poke it every so often.

It should be springy but firm to the touch when it's done.  It may well develop cracks - don't worry, they're character lines.

When it's done, take it out and leave to cool.

Prepare your butter icing, if you're making it.  To do this, I mix up a good dollop of margarine with a load of icing sugar, some cocoa and splashes of water as required, until I have something that looks like this (below).  Gooey, slightly pale, and chocolatey.

The icing - always best to make
it up as you go along I feel.
When the cake has cooled, slice it, if you want to, and put icing or chocolate spread through the middle.  Then daub the chocolate butter icing all over it.  I like to add stuff on top of this.  This time I went for chocolate sprinkles, but my absolute favourite is Refreshers.  If you are going to use Refreshers do eat it quickly though.  Yummy.

I'm afraid you're going to have to get on with eating the cake once made, as it won't last as well as eggy cakes.  We don't usually find eating it within a couple of days or so a problem.

The cake - Lydia style
This should serve 10-12 happily.

The cake is much more sophisticated as Lydia made it (pictured here with the blue background because blue was her favourite colour).  To make it really yummy I'd add a wee bit of vanilla essence to the butter icing, but it was very yummy without.

I'm happy to hear that my cousin will be using this recipe for her son's birthday (because her son has allergies).  I'm sure Lydia would be thrilled to be useful.

Don't mind if I do

What's your favourite recipe for birthday cake?

The next birthday in our family is going to be mine.  I don't want a chocolate cake.  I'm thinking that I love lemon meringue pie, but no-one else in the family does.  They all like lemon drizzle cake though.  So is there a way I could make a more lemon meringuey lemon drizzle do you think?

Posts in this series

This post is one of a series I'm doing inspired by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim's suggestions of 50 things to blog about.  If you're interested, here's links to all the ones I've done so far.