This week I decided to experiment a bit with my baking. Not an easy thing for me as I do like a recipe to follow, the most daring I ever get is to occasionally not measure that 1 tsp of vanilla, which to me is quite a risk. Anyway, with all my baking attempts I am starting to have a few little recipes I have copied and tweaked, nothing very exciting but I have a plain old sponge recipe I use most of the time and a chocolate one, and well you get the picture.
So I thought why not try to make a Chocolate and Orange Cake without searching out a recipe, and surprisingly it went well, neither sponges were that strong flavoured but the buttercream icing I covered them with helped with the taste. So first attempt at my very own cake, successish – there was still an issue with the way it looked but practice practice practice – I can hear Biggy’s arteries shuddering.
It is such an easy sponge recipe – I cannot remember where I got it from as I have tried so many and have notes and lists all over the place.
Makes about 10 slices (I actually cut them into bite size squares for the kids but for the greedier people – me – a slice was better)
- 175g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 175g soft margarine
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
First I chucked the above ingredients into a bowl.
And whisked them together. Then I scooped out half the mixture and placed into another bowl. In one bowl I added a couple of tbsp of orange juice and mixed together and in the other bowl I added a mixture of 2 tbsp of warm water and 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder and whisked it together. Once done I poured them into a couple of prepared 20cm square tins and baked in the oven on 170°C for 25 – 30 mins.
And there we have a nice chocolate sponge and an orange flavoured sponge, if I want it stronger next time I can add more cocoa or orange to the mixtures.
I then made a couple of buttercreams;
- 75g butter, softened
- 175g icing sugar
I beat the butter until light and fluffy then sifted the icing sugar into the bowl and whisked until it was all blended together, I then split the mixture in half and added 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 2 tsp of water to one bowl and 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice to the other and mixed each one until a nice smooth consistency.
Then I covered the orange sponge with the orange icing and placed the chocolate sponge on top of it and iced the top of the cake with the chocolate icing. The icing ended up being quite thin layers, so I could double up the ingredients to make thicker layers and I think it would look alot better, but actually it tasted just right, not too sickly.
I have been getting out cake decorating books from the library but have not been brave enough to actually do anything so I thought why not try and make this look a little prettier. So I got some white fondant icing and mixed in some orange food colouring, and I kneaded it until I had an orangey colour – it took me a little while to do and I had a moment of thinking I was doing it wrong as it was a sticky streaky mess and my hands looked like I had overdone the fake tan, but eventually it was all mixed in and had lost the sticky feeling. My first thoughts were lets just put some stripes over it, or maybe some polka dots, but maybe that is too simple, then I thought what about some flowers, but that looked too complicated for the first time working with the icing. Then I found the picture of a pretty bow, which only had a couple of steps but looked clever when finished.
Should of stuck to the polka dots, complete disaster, here is a picture of my 5th and last attempt before I chucked it in the bin. I may need some more practice…
Oh well it tasted lovely, so that is all that matters. Thank goodness!