Dear readers, Merry Christmas! We hope your December and New Year's are filled with warmth, charity and loved ones. This year, like most others has been a mixed bag of some good and some bad and while we look forward to better times and new adventures ahead, we also reflect on how lucky we are and how fortunate we continue to be, not least because we have shared and had your support and encouragement from the first day till today. We really appreciate that and we hope your life too, continues to be full of the excitement, contentment and blessings of good food and good meals.
This was one of the first recipes I ever made and continues to be one of the most applicable, a simple and tasty butter cake. The strength of this cake is it's plainess, which lends itself to the best ingredients and a moist crumb, if you are patient and thorough. It can also be flavoured with orange peel and juice for an orange cake, or stir half the batter with dark cocoa powder for a marble cake.
250g butter unsalted
250g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence or seeds from a vanilla pod
250g self-raising flour
1 Tbsp brandy
For orange cake, add 2 Tbsp orange juice and rind of an orange, for a marble cake, mix a third of the batter with 2 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder.
1. This is known as the simplest of recipes, essentially creaming together an equal quantity of fat, sugar and flour. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light coloured. The key to this recipe is really vigourously creaming the butter and then adding the sugar, whipping both until sufficient air is incorporated to make it light and crumbly.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that the creaming in between is enough to really mix in the egg. Add the vanilla or orange if you are using it.
3. Fold in the flour gently, so as not to deflate the air you've so carefully introduced, and the brandy.
4. Pour into a 8 inch square tin and bake at 150 degrees C for 1 hour. You can use a larger tin and make a flatter sheet cake, or else spoon it into cupcake moulds and bake the cupcakes for 40 min at the same temperature.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!