Cake, glorious cake! It’s National Cake Week – from the 2nd to the 8th October, it’s time to celebrate everything to do with that delicious treat. Whether you’re getting together with friends to chat with a slice, making something for the whole family to enjoy, or just baking yourself a little treat, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get creative.
It’s hard to imagine a world without cake. The delicious dessert has become a staple for various events from birthdays to weddings. From traditional sponges, to more alternative gluten or dairy free options, there is a cake out there to suit everyone. National Cake Week was started back in 2011 by Lynn Hill, to celebrate everything to do with the nation’s favourite treat.
We’ve compiled a list of some classics to get you started!
Everyone loves a classic Victoria sponge. This particular cake traditionally consists of raspberry jam and whipped double cream sandwiched together between two sponge cakes. It was named after Queen Victoria, who was partial to a bit of sponge with her afternoon tea. Follow our recipe below to make your own version – to add a twist, why not use a different flavoured jam between your sponges?
– 4 large eggs, beaten
– 225g self raising flour
– 225g caster sugar
– 225g soft butter
– raspberry jam
– whipped double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/gas mark 4. Grease two cake tins and set one to the side. You may want to line these with greaseproof paper, depending on your preference.
2. Beat the eggs together, then add to a large mixing bowl. Measure out the flour, sugar, and butter. Add these to the eggs, and mix together with an electric hand whisk until well combined.
3. Divide the mixture equally between the two cake tins. Put these into your oven and wait for 25 minutes, or until the sponges are golden and springy to the touch.
4. Set these aside to cool for a few minutes before attempting to remove them from the tins. Ease out onto a wire cooling rack, and prepare the whipped double cream. Once the sponges are cool enough, you can add your jam of choice as well as the cream. To add the finishing touches, sprinkle a touch of icing sugar over the top of your beautiful sponge. Now that is a cake that is fit for a queen!
No list of cakes would be complete without a chocolate selection. This is definitely one for all you chocoholics out there! Chocolate cake came into being way back in the 17th century, when bakers added newly discovered cacao powder to their recipes. There are so many varieties of this that you can make for yourselves: we’ve opted for a sweeter version that includes chopped chocolate in the sponge itself as well as the cocoa powder.
– 3 large eggs, beaten
– 175g caster sugar
– 175g self-raising flour
– 175g softened butter
– 40g cocoa powder
– 200g dark chocolate, chopped
For the buttercream:
– 100g butter
– 200g icing sugar
– 40g cocoa powder
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius/gas mark 4. Grease two cake tins, then set these to one side.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder together in a stand mixer. Add the butter and eggs, then beat until well combined.
3. Chop up the chocolate before adding to the mixture. It’s best to use dark chocolate as then the cake will have the flavour of the chocolate without it being too overpowering. You could use milk or even white chocolate if you wanted to add a splash of colour to your sponge, though this will alter the overall sweetness. It all depends on you!
4. After you’ve mixed your chosen chopped chocolate into the mixture, divide it equally between the two prepared cake tins. Put these into your oven, and wait for roughly 25 minutes or until springy to the touch, and the sponge shrinks away from the side of the tin. If you use a clean knife to test whether your sponge is ready, keep in mind the chocolate is still going to be melted – your sponge may be cooked, but the knife might not come out clean because of that chocolatey goodness.
5. Leave your sponges to cool before turning them out onto a wire cooling rack. Next, prepare the buttercream to accompany your dessert. Add the icing sugar, butter, and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl, then cream until smooth. Wait until your sponges are cool to add this to them. This cake is best tried while still fresh from the oven, as the chocolate will still be lovely and melted in the middle. So get eating!
This counts as one of your five a day, right? Whatever your opinion, you can’t beat a good carrot cake. This particular cake is popular in Switzerland, particularly for children’s birthday parties. Here in Britain, the carrot cake rose in popularity during WWII due to rationing. Some versions include walnuts in the sponge as well as decorating the cream cheese frosting, however we’ve opted for the more nut allergy friendly variety.
– 4 large eggs, beaten
– 400g caster sugar
– 250g plain flour
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 300ml vegetable oil
– Pinch of salt
– 350g grated carrots
For the cream cheese topping:
– 125g butter, softened
– 450g icing sugar
– 200g cream cheese
– 1tsp vanilla essence
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius/gas mark 4. Grease two prepared cake tins, and set aside for later.
2. Stir together the flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Put the oil and eggs into the mixture, then beat together until well combined. Next, stir in the grated carrots and mix in with a spoon.
3. Divide the mixture equally between the two cake tins, the shove them in the oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. A knife or skewer should come out clean if put into the sponge. After you’re satisfied your cakes are well and truly cooked, leave them to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
4. While you’re waiting for your sponges to reduce in temperature, you can turn your attention to that delicious cream cheese topping. In another mixing bowl, combine the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla essence. Use a hand whisk to cream all of the ingredients together until smooth.
5. Once your sponges have cooled, spread the mixture between the two layers, and over the top of the cake.
Lemon drizzle cake
There’s no flavour that is more classic than lemon. This acidic fruit is the perfect thing to tingle your tastebuds if these other recipes haven’t grabbed your interest just yet. The origins of this wonderful classic are unknown, though why it has become a firm favourite is not a mystery. You simply cannot beat a good lemon drizzle cake!
– 2 large eggs, beaten
– 100g caster sugar
– 100g self-raising flour
– 100g butter, softened
– Zest and juice of one lemon
– 50g icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin, then set this to one side.
2. Add the flour, sugar and butter to a mixing bowl. Combine these ingredients together, then add the beaten eggs and prepared lemon zest. Make sure to keep the lemon juice to one side to use for the drizzle once the cake is finished. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, then chuck in the oven to bake to perfection.
3. Leave the cake in the oven to cook for between 35 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for a moment before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
4. Prepare the drizzle – add the lemon juice to the icing sugar, then pour this over your sponge. To make sure the drizzle thoroughly soaks in, you can poke some holes into it with a skewer to give it more depth of flavour before you pour it over your cake.
We hope you’re feeling somewhat inspired to get out that baking equipment! You could even try and shake things up a bit by turning one of these recipes into cupcakes instead of a proper sponge. Whatever cakes you decide to make to celebrate National Cake Week, make sure to show off your creations to family and friends.