Dairy Free and Suitable for vegetarians
Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 30 minutes
This is my ‘go- to’ cake mixture, perfect for a special Sunday teatime treat and birthday cakes. The cake freezes well.
You will need 2 X 20 cm sandwich tins, and a greaseproof paper circle at the bottom of each tin a wire cooling rack and all the usual baking equipment; large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, weighing scales, measuring spoons, sieve, large metal spoon for incorporating the flour and a hand held mixer (or a wooden spoon and lots of elbow grease!)
225 g ‘pure’ sunflower spread
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry or strawberry conserve
1) Heat the oven to 160oC fan (180oC, gas 4) and prepare the cake tins:-
Stand a tin on the greaseproof paper and draw a line around the outside of the tin with a pencil to form a template, cut out 2 circles of paper from this template to fit your 2 tins. Next smear a little bit of sunflower spread on some greaseproof paper and rub around the edges of the cake tins (you don’t need to grease the bottom of the tins because you will put the greaseproof paper liner at the bottom). Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of flour into the tins and tip it around the tins so that the flour sticks nicely to all the greased bits. Finally, put the greaseproof circles at the bottom of the tins. Doing this stage will help you get your cake out of the tin easily when it has baked.
2) Mix the butter and sugar together with a hand held mixer or beat with a wooden spoon until well combined. Do not over beat the mixture (sunflower spread combines faster than hard butter)- Keep going until the mixture gets lighter in colour.
3) Break all the eggs into a separate bowl and gentle whisk them with a fork to combine the yolks with the whites. Add the vanilla extract to the eggs if you are using it.
4) Add approximately 1/3 of the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar mixture and sprinkle in a tablespoon of the self-raising flour too. Mix until well combined and then repeat this process until you have incorporated all the egg into the mixture.
– If it splits..don’t worry 😉
5) Next, combine the salt with the flour and use a sieve to incorporate plenty of air into the flour as you add it, a bit at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture. Add about 1/3 at a time and fold* it gently into the mixture using a large metal spoon – no beating or whisking here because you will bash all the air out of the cake!
*folding means that you stir around the outer edge of the bowl and then ‘cut’ down the middle.
6) When all the flour is combined you are ready to pour the mixture into your prepared tins. Be sure to get equal quantities in each one. Spread the mixture to the edges of the tin gently with the back of the spoon.
7) bake for 25 minutes.
8) Take the cake out of the oven and check that it is done by gently pressing and releasing the top of the cake with a clean finger. If the cake is done it will spring back up and not leave an indentation. If the cake is underdone pop it back in the oven for about another 5 minutes and re-test.
9) Turn out the cakes onto a wire cooling rack and peel away the greaseproof paper liners from the bottom. Place a clean tea towel over the caked and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.
10) Spread the jam over one of the cakes and then sandwich together. Sprinkle the top with icing sugar (Using a tea strainer so that you don’t get any lumpy bits of sugar!).
11) Serve the cake on a pretty plate, enjoy a slice with a lovely cup of tea.
The May Queen’, 1954