Since my friend Andrea told me that this was how Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall made his sponge cakes, I’ve hardly ever deviated from his formula. Like a Chinese Whisper, though, I realised when I read his ‘Family Cookbook’ that I’d misunderstood a little bit. Anyway, here it is, unintentionally adapted:
4 eggs, any size, cracked straight into your weighing bowl.
Weigh exactly the same amount of self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and soft butter and put into your mixing bowl.
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons of milk and 2 heaped tablespoons of really good cocoa.
Add the eggs and use a hand-mixer to beat all the ingredients thoroughly.
Divide the mixture into two lined 7″ round cake tins and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes at 180 degrees.
The cakes are ready if they spring back when you touch them.
Leave to cool.
Chocolate Fudge Icing
This is just a normal butter icing with a bar and a half of melted dark chocolate beaten into it.
Beat together 200g soft butter and 300g icing sugar, admiring the Winter Wonderland you’ve just created.
Add 150g melted dark chocolate (minimum 70 % cocoa solids) if you want it really chocolatey. The icing in the picture is 100g dark chocolate and 50g milk chocolate. Mistake. But not a huge one.
Add 1 tablespoon vanilla essence and beat until it looks delicious. If it needs softening, add a little bit of milk. Sandwich it between the two completely cooled cakes and spread it all over the top (and sides, if you want).
The little chocolate curls are made by using a vegetable peeler to scrape a bar of chocolate.
I tried to be more adventurous with Annie’s birthday cake this year and followed a recipe which looked really interesting to me. She didn’t need to say anything. One glance was enough to relegate the new cake into a layer of tiramisu.