Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

What does baking conjure up in your mind? Fluffy, moist, sweet morsels of deliciousness? Or dry, burnt, deflated crumbs of despair?

Well I tend towards the latter but decided that, having gotten a bit bored of cooking lumps of flesh in various sauces, that I would return to the old nemesis – baking…

We plumbed (yes we, I co-opted the Fussy-Eater into this project) for a simple sponge cake with a cream and summery fruits filling.

Essential Ingredients for Creamy Summer Fruits Sponge Cake:

(based on a Delia recipe)

For the sponge:

  • 6 oz self-raising flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 6 oz butter, very soft
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • Raspberries and strawberries
  • Runny strawberry jam
  • tub mascarpone
  • 200 ml fromage frais
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 325°F (170°C).

Line and butter two 8 inch sponge tins.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl from a height to get some air into it. Add the other sponge ingredients to the bowl and whisk everything together for about a 1 minute.

The mixture should drop off a spoon when you tap on the side of the bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix again if it is a bit stiff. Now divide the mixture between the two tins, level it out and place on the centre shelf of the oven.

It will take 30-35 minutes to cook – don’t open the oven door until 30 minutes have elapsed.

To test if cooked, touch the centre lightly with your little finger; if it springs back, its cooked. Allow to cool.

Just about got them out the oven in time – just!

For the filling, combine all the ingredients (except fruit and jam) in a bowl.

Spread some jam over one of the sponge cakes, follow this with half the cream mixture then scatter the raspberries all over that.

Add the remaining cream mixture and drizzle it with the rest of the jam. Place the second sponge cake on top. Press down a bit, spread some more cream over the top and decorate with strawberries.

Now serve straight up (maybe with tea).

Things I learned:

  1. When it says large eggs – use large eggs – mine weren’t and it was a bit stodgy
  2. Know your oven – mine runs hot!
  3. Don’t over-whisk

But I think we’ll be doing a bit more baking – makes a change from pot roasts!

39 thoughts on “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

  1. Glad you faced your fear. If you can follow directions, you can bake, some of the more touchy nuances like how to keep a cheesecake from cracking despite following all the directions just come with experience and time. Loved your photography!

  2. Baking is kind of my nemesis too. I think that’s why there are no cakes on my blog. I am trying to conquer my fear of yeast though by making bread.

    My cakes usually turn out leaden, uneven, cracked, or all three. I think that’s why I like “cooking lumps of flesh in various sauces” — because I can always save them!

    Great post, though! It made me laugh and point to the screen while saying, “That’s happened to me!”

  3. That angled photo of the cake really caught my eye … took me a moment to figure out what I was looking at. Cake from a new perspective, and it looks delicious too!

  4. I’m tempted to scorn your efforts and tell you that baking is woman’s work. But then I would not be admitting to the fear. Yes, fear that I have of baking. However, One Man’s Cake has a pretty lame ring to it….
    Happy Easter,

    • Agreed. I’m working my way towards Beef Wellington but I’ve tried it before and Its a can of worms and I’m just not sure I can take that kind of rejection again, As for blog names I wanted ‘Notes from the Edge’ which was long taken and in a fit of semi-drunken pique I called it Happiness Stan and now can’t change it. Bloody Happiness Stan.

  5. Far too often have I pulled out my own very-nearly-overly-brown cake and though the same. Some part of me always feels like doing a victory dance. Good save! Nice looking cake to boot 🙂

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