Posts Tagged With: layers

Lady Baltimore Cake

One of the few downsides of being a prolific baker (apart from an ever-expanding waistline) is when you really want to try something new, that’s also not too complicated, but you end up skimming over the same old well-loved recipes. Chocolate cake, Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, brownies; they’re all undeniably delicious but sometimes I find myself craving something a bit different that’s still simple to whip up.

This is particularly true when it comes to birthday cakes. I’ve made my lovely step-grandad’s celebratory sponge for the last three years and wanted to make a cake that he and the rest of the family had never tried before, but one that equally didn’t involve hours of painstaking fiddling and stressing.

I was flicking through my latest cookbook bargain, The Best-Ever Book of Cakes by Ann Nicol (bought for £2 from The Works and brimming with an array of fantastic recipes) for inspiration, and the Lady Baltimore cake caught my eye. I’d never heard of such a thing before, let alone baked one, but it looked delicious with its snowy white and unapologetically bumpy frosting.

Admittedly, I altered the recipe a bit with a couple of substitutions, but the result was absolutely heavenly. The crunch of the walnuts mixed with the sharpness of the raisins and cranberries, all contrasting with the sweet and marshmallowy meringue frosting, is divine. I would never have thought to mix lumpy things like fruit and nuts into an icing but it really works!

Oh, and if you’re a fan of dreamy, cloud-like meringue frosting, why not have a go at my Tunnock’s chocolate teacake cake?


INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter

For the cake:

  • 250ml/8 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 225g/8 oz caster sugar
  • 280g/10 oz self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Grated rind of 1 small lemon (or orange)
  • 125ml/4 fl oz lemon (or orange) juice

For the frosting/filling:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 115g/4 oz icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp cream of tartar (optional but helps stabilise the frosting)
  • 50g/2 oz mixed nuts, pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 85g//3 oz raisins
  • 40g/1.5 oz cranberries


For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round baking tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the vegetable oil, sugar and eggs together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the lemon rind and juice.
  4. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder, until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins, then pop in the oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  6. When baked, transfer the cakes onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the frosting/filling:

  1. Set aside 8 whole walnuts and 8 cranberries.
  2. Separate the egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk with the vanilla extract and cream of tartar, while adding the icing sugar a few teaspoons at a time, until stiff peaks form – you should ideally do this for a minimum of 7-10 minutes.
  3. Spread half of the mixture on top of one of the cooled sponges with a palette knife.
  4. Gently stir in the chopped nuts, raisins and cranberries into the remaining frosting and spread the mixture on top of the other sponge.
  5. Sandwich the sponge topped with plain frosting on top of the one with the fruit and nut frosting, then arrange the extra 8 walnuts and cranberries on top of the cake in a neat circle.


Categories: Icing, Layer Cakes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheer-Me-Up Angel Cake

Originally posted 08/06/2013

Of all the cakes I’ve made this is certainly not one of the most elegant – I even overcooked the sponges (although I seem to have mastered the art of nice even cupcakes, my large round cakes always come out abysmally) – but after a horrible week of suffering from a severe chest infection and generally feeling rubbish, by the weekend I had a serious craving for a massive dose of unapologetically sinful sweet, spongey, jammy, melt-in-the-mouth, no-frills CAKE. CAKE just for me!! And the result was blissfully delicious, though unfortunately so much so that my family managed to devour the majority of it! I used my favourite vanilla buttercream icing and, being a sucker for girly prettiness, I made pink and yellow angel cake sponges topped off with rainbow sprinkles for added cheeriness. As I said, this is by no means the most sophisticated of cakes but it’s super easy and certainly won’t fail to raise a smile!

INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter

For the cake:

  • 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
  • 225g/8 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 225g/8 oz margarine/butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Half a tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring

For the filling/icing:

  • 2 tbsp (approx.) jam of your choice (I used strawberry)
  • 225g/8 oz icing sugar
  • 55g/2 oz cream cheese (at room temperature, full-fat works best)
  • 55g/2 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Coloured sprinkles, to decorate


For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into one of the cake tins – it shouldn’t be any more than three quarters full to avoid overspill.
  5. Add a few drops of red food colouring to the remaining batter until it has turned a pale pink colour. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t look the perfect shade, it will look different when baked.
  6. Pour the mixture into the second cake tin – again, it shouldn’t be any more than three quarters full (if you have any leftover batter at this stage why not fill a few cupcake cases? 🙂
  7. Pop in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  8. When baked, leave the sponges to cool on a wire rack. At this stage they can be frozen for assembling and decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling & icing:

  1. Whisk the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract together in a bowl and then gradually add the icing sugar until a pale spreadable mixture has formed. If too stiff, add a little milk and if too runny, add some more icing sugar.
  2. If the sponges have risen up too much in the middle, saw off the tops using a sharp serated knife so that they’re nice and flat, otherwise they’ll be horribly wobbly when stacked together. See below for an idea of what to do with the offcuts!
  3. Place the yellow sponge on something flat that it will not need to be moved from when completed, e.g. a cake board, tray or tin lid (moving the finished cake is best avoided if possible!), then spread a thin layer of jam all over the top of the yellow sponge followed by a thin layer of the buttercream icing. If any bits of the sponges have fallen off these can be ‘glued’ back on with jam 🙂
  4. Firmly place the pink sponge on top then spread the buttercream icing all over the assembled cake with a palette knife, smoothing out the top and sides as you go, while attempting to resist repeatedly sampling its fluffy, vanilla-y deliciousness.
  5. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles for some extra colour.

Leftover sponge and icing…?

Simply layer torn up chunks of pink and yellow sponge and jam in small individual containers (e.g. ramekins or teacups) then top with icing and sprinkles to make some cute little trifle-style angelic desserts!

Categories: Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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