A traditional ‘pick me up’ classic

If I’m looking for something to cheer me up then I find sitting down with a slice of cake and a hot brew is always a good place to start, especially if I’ve just made it myself.  Fresh cake never lasts long in our house!  I don’t need much excuse for cake, but with Time to Talk Day 2018 taking place on the 1st February, I thought what better recipe to share than a ‘pick me up’ classic and hopefully help start a few conversations about mental health!

I often bake when I’m in need of a ‘pick me up’, but it’s not always possible to spare the time.  However, there is a classic go-to recipe which I use and is easy to do with not too much time needed – the traditional sponge cake!  Whether it be the old favourite Victoria sandwich, or you feel like spicing it up a bit with your favourite flavours, a standard sponge mix is something which is simple and versatile, but tastes delicious!

Today I opted for a traditional sponge with a little vanilla extract to give it an added dimension.  Always try to use ‘extract’ flavourings rather than ‘essence’  as it is a natural product, whereas essence is artificial and made using other methods to recreate the desired flavour.  Raspberry is always a front runner on the jam front for me and throw in some butter cream and you’re on to a winner!  Below is the base recipe I always use to make a my sponge cake and it can be adapted in so many ways.  Coffee? Lemon? Chocolate? The list goes on.  Why not have a crack at it and enjoy!

For the cake:
  • 225g softened, unsalted butter, or baking spread
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g sifted self-raising flour
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
For the filling:
  • Your choice of jam
    • 4 tablespoons of jam, traditionally strawberry or raspberry
  • Fresh Double Cream, or Butter Cream filling (optional) 
  • A little caster sugar, or icing sugar of preferred, for dusting
  1. Set the oven to 180ºC/Fan 160ºC/Gas Mark 4 and prepare two deep sandwich tins.  Those which I use are 20cm rounds.
  2. In your bowl, blend together the butter and caster sugar until mixed
  3. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and beat the mixture until it becomes smooth and all ingredients are blended well.
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the two cake tins.
  5. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 25 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch.  Leave to cool slightly and then turn out onto a wire rack.
  6. If using a cream filling, prepare whilst the cake is cooling.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the jam over the base of one sponge (and cream on the base of the second) and sandwich both layers together.
  8. Sprinkle with some caster sugar or sifted icing sugar to finish.

Enjoy!  If you have any questions about the recipe please get in touch.  Why not try your hand at baking one ready for Time to Talk Day this Thursday?  I’m sure it will go down a treat!

Keep smiling and happy baking!

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