December 14, 2012 by thepolishedbutton
I am a bit of a fan of baking, so any excuse to whip up something full of butter and sugar is welcome! (In fact, I became slightly obsessed whilst on maternity leave and ploughed my way entirely through this book: All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray – well worth buying in my opinion!)
It will be my daughter’s 2nd birthday next week, so I have taken a lot of time trying to design a cake for her by doodling at my desk during my lunch break.
Like every other toddler on the planet, she is partial to a bit of In the Night Garden, and through my husband’s work it is also a much loved topic in our house, so Iggle Piggle and co will be taking pride of place on the top table this weekend.
As her birthday is so close to Christmas, we are having a toddler’s tea party the week before, and then just family for her actual birthday. I thought a two tiered cake would be perfect, as the bottom larger cake could be cut up for party bags, but the smaller top piece could be saved for her actual birthday and to share with the grandparents. My only concern was whether the iced sponge would keep for a week and not dry out, but from what I can gather if I store it in a cool, dry place in a sealed box, it should be fine. Here’s hoping…
So, the cake itself is hot milk sponge – not something I’ve done before but in actual fact it turned out really nicely. It was then filled with jam and buttercream with a thin layer of buttercream all over it to hold the fondant icing.
I cheated slightly with the icing and just bought ready made fondant and coloured it. A few ready made decorations and a plunder of the toy box gives a pretty pleasing result in my opinion. I look forward to picking bits of blue icing out of the carpet in few days time…
Whilst on a mini baking spree, I thought I should probably whip up a batch of mince pies, being the festive season and all. My husband recently brought home from work a mince pie with a sponge topping. It was amazing – a bit like a festive bakewell tart, and I decided that this was going to be this year’s offering. (I find it impossible to make a bog standard mince pie, and like to challenge myself to find an unusual method or recipe every year…don’t ask me why.)
Anyway, they were dead easy to make, especially if you save yourself the hassle and buy some ready made shortcrust pastry (Lidl in my case). Little ‘un had a great time helping me cut out the bases, although she was politely made redundant when she got a bit cookie cutter happy and I had to re-roll the pastry! A teaspoon or so of mince meat, and the same again of sponge batter (spread with the back of the spoon to cover the mince meat) and bung them in the oven for 15 minutes.
I rolled my pastry quite thinly, so you may need a bit longer if you have it thicker. Dust them with icing sugar, pop the kettle on and relax in the knowledge that you are a baking diva and domestic goddess. (Please ignore the washing up, drip of batter down the cupboard and fine coating of flour over every surface…that is a concern for later.)
This is the super simple all-in-one sponge batter recipe I used – enough to make about 30 mince pies, along with a jar and half of mince meat and a packet of ready to roll pastry.
4 oz self raising flour sifted
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz of butter
pinch of salt.
Whizz everything together in a bowl under smooth. Spoon over mincemeat. Cook for about 15 minutes, 160 degrees C/gas mark 4, unless golden and the sponge firm to the touch.
I took these to my book club last night and the girls all approved, so I think they are a winner! (Oh and my mum ate so many that she has been christened Ma Ma Mince Pie by the toddler…)