Cut the butter into small dice and put into the bowl of a food mixer with the caster sugar. Beat till light and fluffy. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Don't miss this step - it is really important that the dry ingredients are well mixed. And yes, the recipe does contain self-raising flour and baking powder - just go with it.
Line 2 x 20cm sponge tins with a disc of baking parchment. Set the oven at 170C/gas mark 5. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, beat them briefly to mix, then stir in the milk.
Introduce the flour mixture and the eggs and milk to the butter and sugar, adding a little of each at a time, with the mixer going all the time till you have a smooth mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and smooth the surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes till risen. Test with a metal skewer. If it comes out moist but clean, without any mixture stuck to it, then they are ready.
Remove from the oven, leave to settle for 15 minutes, run a palette knife around the edges, then gently turn out on to a cooling rack. When the cakes are almost cool, peel off the baking parchment.
Add the mascarpone, icing sugar, maple syurp to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Whilst whisking, add the double cream, continue mixing until smooth and soft peaks are formed.
Sandwich the cake together with half of the filling and a layer of salted caramel. Then pipe the remainder of the cream on top. Finish with a sprinkle of grated chocolate and toasted almonds.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan 160C. Oil and line the base and sides of an 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment. The easiest way to do this is to cut two long strips the width of the tin and put each strip crossways, covering the base and sides of the tin, with a double layer in the base.
Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.
Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then sift into the bowl. Lightly mix all the ingredients – when everything is evenly amalgamated stop mixing. The mixture will be fairly soft and almost runny.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze the cake at this point.)
Beat together the frosting ingredients in a small bowl until smooth – you want the icing about as runny as single cream. Set the cake on a serving plate and boldly drizzle the icing back and forth in diagonal lines over the top, letting it drip down the sides.
This cake was baked by Gemma, a member of our Web Sales department. The recipe was based on this BBC Recipe.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. To make the sponge, put the eggs, sugar and lemon zest into a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk using a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture has more than doubled in volume and become very thick, pale and mousselike. To check that the mixture is at the right stage, lift the beaters from the bowl – the mixture that falls off should leave a distinct ribbon-like trail on the surface.
Sift two-thirds of the flour onto the mixture, then gently fold in with a metal spoon. Add the remaining flour and fold in gently to retain as much air as possible, but make sure all the flour is incorporated.
Gently fold in the melted butter.
Pour into the tin and bake for 25–30 minutes until pale golden brown and the sides of the cake shrink away from the tin.
Cool the sponge in the tin for 5 minutes, to allow it to firm up a bit, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack (the sponge is delicate).
Leave to cool while you wash the tin.
To make the crème mousseline, bring the milk and vanilla pod just to the boil in a wide saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, kirsch and cornflour in a bowl just until smooth and creamy. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, then pour through a sieve onto the egg mixture, whisking well. Pour the mixture into the washed saucepan, set over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture boils and thickens; this will take about 4 minutes. It’s important to keep stirring to avoid the custard going lumpy.
Keep stirring for a minute over the heat to make sure the mixture will be thick enough to pipe, but take care that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the butter.
Allow to cool slightly, then pour into a shallow dish. Press a disc of dampened greaseproof paper onto the surface, to prevent a skin from forming, then chill for at least 1 hour until cold and set firm.
To make the syrup, put the sugar, lemon juice and 70ml water into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved, then boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
Roll out the marzipan on a worktop lightly dusted with icing sugar to make a thin disc 23cm across. Keep chilled until needed.
When ready to assemble the cake, slice the cold sponge in half horizontally to make 2 thin, even discs. Place the strip of acetate around the inside of the tin so it will fit snugly between the side of the tin and the sponge (or line the tin with clingfilm or parchment-lined foil). Set one sponge disc, cut side up, in the tin and brush liberally with the syrup. With the back of a spoon, gently squash the edges of the cake down so that they are pushed directly against the sides of the tin.
Choose 12 strawberries of the same height and cut them vertically in half. Arrange pointed end up on top of the sponge layer, cut side against the acetate, making sure the berries are fitting snugly next to each other.
Spoon about two-thirds of the crème mousseline into the piping bag to start off with. Pipe a spiral over the sponge base in the tin to cover completely; pipe between the strawberries to fill all the gaps. (Add the remaining crème mousseline to the piping bag when there is space.) Set 3–5 strawberries aside for the decoration, then quarter the rest. Spread these over the crème so it makes the filling about 2.5cm higher.
Pipe another spiral of crème on top of the berries and smooth level with a palette knife.
Set the other disc of sponge on top, cut side up, and brush with the rest of the syrup.
Gently press the top sponge layer down onto the crème so the assembled cake is firmly pressed against the acetate all round. Lay the marzipan disc on top, then chill well.
Make some decorations from the melted chocolate. To serve, remove the acetate-wrapped cake from the tin, then gently remove the acetate. Set the cake on a plate and finish with the reserved strawberries and chocolate decorations.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease two 20 cm (8 in) deep sandwich tins then line the base of each tin with baking parchment.
Blend the cocoa and boiling water in a large bowl then add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until the mixture has become a smooth, thickish batter. Divide the cake mix equally between the prepared tins and level the surface.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25–30 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a fi nger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
This cake was made by Claire, head of e-commerce. The recipe is a Mary Berry recipe.
Sift flour into a bowl with the sugar and the bicarbonate of soda and the dark cocoa
In a jug measure milk, sunflower oil, golden syrup and eggs and mix together then add to bowl with flour and mix with a hand mixer for 3 or 4 minutes
Poor into 2 round lined cake tins and bake for about 20 minutes 160 (fan oven)
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted add the vanilla extract. Remove the bowl from the pan and add the icing sugar and the mix until all the icing sugar is mixed in add the milk a little at a time. The icing will thicken as it cools
This cake was made my Julie, a member of our finance Department.
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