A perfectly classic Victoria Sponge cake; soft, fluffy sponge cakes sandwiched together with vanilla buttercream and fruit jam.
A Victoria Sponge is such a British classic, and in my opinion every good baker should be able to nail a perfect version of it. The reason why I say this is often people think a Victoria Sponge is one of the more simple cakes you can make; and whilst this is true in terms of techniques, it is also difficult in the sense there is no where to hide! With just simple flavours and a dusting of icing sugar on top, the flavours shine and so does your perfect taste and texture.
One thing I love about this cake is it’s universal appeal. Perfect for children and adults alike it works for birthdays, special occasions or even just when you fancy a bit of cake. You can also play with the flavours to suit your tastes, the occasion or the season. Whilst this is made with half raspberry and half strawberry jam which is ideal for summer, you could also make this with blackberries or apples in autumn, or with rhubarb or oranges in winter.
A perfect Victoria Sponge consists of two sponge cakes with a light and soft texture, and they should be ever so slightly crumbly when fresh. I’ve substituted the traditional whipped cream filling for a light, not too sweet vanilla buttercream – not only do I personally think this is preferable to cream but it will also keep fresh longer. Also, if you find yourself surrounded by a glut of fresh fruit, you could use this instead of jam for a change.
Sweet yet tart lemon cupcakes, perfect for a special occasion. A lemon sponge, filled with a pop of lemon curd in the middle, topped with light as air Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
These cupcakes are something special. Lemony to the core (literally!), but topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream which is definitely worth the effort. This was the first time I’d eaten (let alone made) Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and despite the process being quite lengthy, the result was spectacular. Like a cross between a marshmallow and traditional buttercream, it is the smoothest, lightest icing you will ever eat. Also a bonus that it’s not too sweet, which works wonderfully well with lemons.
I left these as just pure and simple lemon, which seems just right to show off the two ‘technical’ elements of this cake. Both the Lemon Curd and the Swiss Meringue Buttercream might seem quite daunting, but the good thing is you can do both of them in advance! The Lemon Curd will keep in an unopened jar for a couple of months and the buttercream can be kept in the fridge for a few days before use. Then all you need to do is bake the cupcakes, which I promise is exceedingly simple!
If the Swiss Meringue Buttercream seems like a step too far, then a regular buttercream would also work well. You will get a sweeter result, but that’s not always a bad thing! Simply cream together 1 part butter to 1 and 1/2 parts icing sugar, and then add lemon curd to taste. I have to say this is one of my favourite buttercreams – the eggs in the curd help the buttercream go a very very pale colour, and it really lightens up the texture.
These cupcakes would make a wonderful gift or treat on a special occasion, and I can promise they will be gratefully received by anyone…. except perhaps someone who doesn’t like lemons!
Carrot cake is the marmite of cakes – people either love it or they hate it. I’m a strange one, a carrot cake convert we might say. I never used to like it (perhaps I thought all carrot cake tasted very carrot-y?) but was 100% converted by this recipe. It is now one of my go-to’s if I fancy making a quick cake.
Even better, I think I’ve really cracked making a cake gluten, wheat and dairy free without people being able to tell. I can boldly say this as I did quite a few taste tests on people at work and no one could tell the difference. I have a colleague who is unable to eat gluten or wheat, so often I’ve been put off bringing my baking to work knowing how it feels to be the one missing out. However, I thought this would be a great recipe to attempt switching the flour for an alternative because, as far as cakes go, carrot cakes have a relatively low amount of flour in them as they are also held together by the carrot. I used Doves Farm’s gluten and wheat free self raising flour and I have to say I was pleased and amazed at the results. I will definitely be making them again and trying some different cake recipes with the flour.
This carrot cake has an interesting mix of ingredients, but do give it a try as they work perfectly together. The sultanas are bursts of sweetness throughout the cake, a good contrast to the crunch of the walnuts; and the coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg compliment the sweet carrot flavour to make the cake very aromatic.
The recipe also calls for quite a lot of carrots, so choose your carrots carefully based on how carrot-y you like your carrot cake. It is quite simple… If you want a stronger carrot flavour, use fresh carrots – the lovely bright orange juicy ones. If you don’t want a very carrot-y carrot cake, use older carrots – the slightly duller in colour and drier ones. Like I said, simples! Continue reading
Deliciously rich, moist and intense chocolate cake with a hazelnut truffle buttercream filling and covered in chocolate ganache, it’s perfect for any special occasion. No one will ever believe this is dairy free!
Is there any cake as universally loved as chocolate cake? Certainly not in my experience, and what’s wonderful about chocolate cake is the huge variety you can make. A chocolate cake can be light, sweet and perfect for an afternoon treat or it can be rich, dark and decadent. This cake without a doubt falls into the second category.
The chocolate sponge gets its depth of flavour and soft texture from some surprising ingredients – melted chocolate, coffee and coconut yoghurt. The chocolate and coffee provide the intense chocolate flavour – be sure not to skip the coffee, you really can’t taste it but it helps bring out the chocolate flavour like nothing else. The coconut yoghurt is added to help the cake stay soft and moist and it provides a slightly tangy unsweet flavour which works well in such a rich cake. You could use any type of plain non dairy yoghurt but I preferred coconut. You can’t taste the coconut flavour, but it provides the tang of normal yoghurts which I find most non dairy yoghurts lack.
The hazelnut truffle buttercream filling has to be one of my favourite things about this cake and no words will do it justice. Naughtily smooth, sweet and chocolatey but less rich than the ganache, it is the perfect filling to provide sweetness to the rest of the cake. It’s called ‘truffle’ filling because you could refrigerate this buttercream and when cold, spoon it into little truffles… Not that I did that of course…
To finish off the cake I’ve covered it with chocolate ganache and chopped roasted hazelnuts. Ganache is just chocolate and cream but it makes the perfect cover for a special occasion cake, shiny and smelling divine it makes the cake irresistible to all… even to those rare people who say they don’t like chocolate cake!
Filed under cakes, Chocolate
These cupcakes combine three of my favourite flavours… coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts! They look very impressive, but with the right kit and a bit of know how really are quite simple. That’s the beauty of baking 🙂 These hit the spot on a rainy Saturday and were great with a cup of nice coffee on the side.
This post shows one of my favourite ways to pipe buttercream. It looks difficult, but, truth be told, it is all in using a particular piping nozzle (a wilton 2d – there are pictures further down). The two tone effect is created using two contrasting colours of icing – one colour goes in your piping bag first so the outside edge of your bag is covered, and then you add the second colour into the middle of the piping bag. As I said, much more simple than it looks! On these cupcakes I created the effect using a dairy free chocolate spread and coffee buttercream.
Orange Blossom and Cranberry Cupcakes
These cupcakes were a bit of an experiment and one I will certainly be making again. Orange blossom water was also a new ingredient for me, and it provided a very grown up and delicate orange flavour to the buttercream icing.
Another success with these cupcakes was a new recipe for dairy free buttercream. After a lot of research on the internet, I read about a vegetable oil based ‘butter’ called Trex. What a great discovery this was! Trex has a similar consistency and look to lard – very hard, slightly crumbly and very white in colour. My usual buttercream recipe uses just dairy free butter, such as pure, but this can be very soft given that Pure has a similar consistency to margarine.
For this buttercream I reduced the amount of dairy free butter and replaced it with Trex – and voila – a smooth, creamy and stiff buttercream! It was a dream to pipe and kept its shape beautifully.
Beautifully piped improved dairy free buttercream recipe
The cranberries in the cake are a hidden surprise. For these I sprinkled the cranberries in the bottom of each case and the spread the batter on top. Next time though I would definitely incorporate the cranberries into batter.
I topped each with a piece of Pecan Brittle (recipe can be found in my Chocolate Caramel cake) for decoration… plus made some extra for me to eat, but that’s just between you and I!
And incase you’re wondering… yes, that is Pudsey Bear on my cupcake cases. Lakeland are currently selling them and donating part of the cost back to Children In Need.