Caramel Birthday Cake

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The husband wanted a caramel cake for his birthday today. I have never made one of those before, and google didn’t really help as a lot of the recipes I found were too complicated for what we wanted or too sweet so I improvised by making a classic victoria sponge and sandwiching it with a caramel buttercream and adding a caramel drip glaze to the top. The husband is pescatarian so this recipe is vegetarian, not vegan. You could easily make a vegan version by making a vegan vanilla sponge cake, making your own caramel from a can of condensed coconut milk and some sugar and using vegan spread in your buttercream.

For 12 healthy slices you need

Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g vegan spread
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tbsp soya milk
  • a little extra spread for greasing the cake tins

Icing and Glaze

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 150g caramel (I cheated and used a 397g can of ready made caramel. Save the remaining caramel for the filling and glaze)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  1. Make the cakes by mixing together all the cake ingredients until well combined. I use my kenwood mixer but you can do this by hand.
  2. Scrape into two lined and greased 8″ cake tins. Bake in a 170 degree oven for 20 mins or so until the cakes are light golden brown, risen and push back when you test them.
  3. Leave the cakes to cook on a rack whilst you make the icing.
  4. Mix together all the icing ingredients until light and fluffy. Again I use my kenwood for this and whip for at least 5-10 mins until the icing has doubled in size and is really light like marshmallow fluff.
  5. Once the cake has cooled, place one half on your cake stand and cover with 1/3 of the icing mixture. Add half of the leftover caramel.
  6. Place the remaining cake on top and then cover the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the icing. Beat the remaining caramel until it’s runny then pour over the iced cake and allow to drip down the sizes. Finish with embarrassing candles showing how old your beloved is mwahahahahahaha! This cake is best stored in the fridge. It will keep for 2-3 days and doesn’t taste overly sweet or sickly. Happy birthday Fuz!

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Celebration Cake 2017

I’ve tweaked and tested and tried various versions of celebration fruit cakes over the last twenty years. Some of them have been a bit dry, some of them too boozy, others too dark and treacly. I needed an excellent cake for the winter solstice this year, and it was also a perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe ahead of our wedding next year (yes, even in a Christmas cake blog post I can get a mention of my forthcoming wedding in, give yourself a shiny*).

I tested this bake at work as the quantities below made more than my 8″ square tin could hold so I was able to bake a skinny 7″ round cake too. Everyone who tried it in the office declared it delicious and I don’t think they were just being polite.

You can veganise this cake by using dairy free spread in lieu of the butter and replacing the eggs with flax egg.

My cake based on Nigella’s Traditional Christmas Cake from her Nigella Christmas book.

* Watch this if you don’t know what on earth I am going on about…

For an 8″ square cake which will yield 16-24 slices depending on greed you need:

  • 1kg of mixed dried fruit: currants, raisins and sultanas. I used up what was in my larder but it worked out at about 350g of each type of dried fruit
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 250g glace cherries
  • 300ml each of brandy and dark rum
  • 300g butter or vegan spread
  • 180g light brown muscovado sugar
  • grated zest of two lemons and two oranges
  • 4 large eggs or the equivalent in flax egg
  • 2 tbsps treacle
  • 450g plain flour (add a little baking powder if using flax egg)
  • 1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  1. Start by placing the dried fruit, peel and cherries in a LARGE bowl and pour over the booze. Mix thoroughly then cover with clingfilm and leave in a cool place (not the fridge) for 2 weeks. Stir every couple of days to rotate the fruit and ensure even soaking.
  2. Make the cake by creaming the butter/spread with the sugar. Then add the eggs/egg replacement and flour in alternate spoonfuls to prevent curdling. Add the grated zest, treacle and spices. Mix well.
  3. Add the soaked fruit. Leave any remaining liquid in the bottom of the soaking bowl until you know if you need it. Sometimes the batter is runny enough without it, sometimes you need to add some of the liquid to let it down a bit. This stage is difficult as the batter is stiff and the bowl will be very full. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands in to ensure even fruit distribution if necessary.
  4. Scrape the mix into a lined 8″ square tin. Fill to 1cm from the top as the cake won’t rise too much whilst baking. Smooth the surface and make a little dip in the middle to compensate for any rise.
  5. Cover the tin with a square of foil with a hole in the middle to prevent the top of the cake from catching and the fruit burning during the cooking.
  6. Bake the cake in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees (130 if fan) for 2 hours 45 mins to 3 hours 15 mins. Take the foil lid off about 45 mins before the end of the baking time to allow the top to brown evenly.
  7. Once cooked LEAVE TO COOL IN THE TIN!!! I learnt this the hard way this year when I turned it out too quickly thinking that would help it not sweat and scarily huge cracks appeared on the bottom. It was rescued by putting quickly back into the tin!
  8. Once cooled, wrap well and store or marzipan and ice. There’s no need to feed this cake as all the booze is locked inside the soaked fruit. It’s safe to give to children however as the booze cooks off as the cake bakes. If you want you can replace the booze with orange juice for a fresher tasting cake.