I love cakes ever since my childhood with happy memories of my mum baking nice tasting treats. It was her way of relaxing, and enjoying creating and we all got the benefits of it; that's the great thing about this hobby! The house smelt nice too tantalising aromas as you came home of coffee sponge, carrot and cinnamon slice, banana bread and our favourite chocolate cake with delectable creamy dark chocolate topping on it that made you want to lick it off your fingers.
My brother and I would help my mum with mixing up the ingredients but really it was just an excuse to see who could lick the mixture out the mixing bowl. I am afraid we were rather impatient (like many children!) and often couldn't wait for the cake to actually be cooked but were licking the batter off the spoons and nagging at my mum all the time to test (I.e. give us some) out of the oven to see if it was cooked yet.
Don't do this with batter that's had baking powder or baking soda added to it as it will still be fizzing up and rising and may give you indigestion! I know, I've tried it!
Grandma Kay's Cake Recipes
Going round my Grandma Kay's house was another good cake experience. She was where these special recipes had come from and she would always do our favourites for Christmas, Easter and birthdays especially the coveted chocolate layer sponge.
Then, when I was 18 years old a naturopath suggested I try cutting out eggs, and then dairy for my particular health. I thought oh dear, that's an end of any fun baking or nice puddings for me. But then my mother happily reminded me that my Grandma Kay's delicious cake recipes were egg-free and some were also dairy-free. I'd grown up loving eating these creations and had never even noticed they didn?t have egg, or butter, or cream in. Her recipes dated back from the 2nd World War when food was rationed and it was very difficult to get eggs or butter of milk. So other ways were found to make up for that for example using Bicarbonate of Soda instead to make the sponge rise and give it a light texture.
I hope you enjoy this rewarding hobby as much as we do and it's always a fun and useful thing to pass on from generation to generation; children are always happy to join in or watch, and test taste while you create your dessert to share together. Here are some recipes to try (we found my grandmother?s original scripts from her old handwritten book complete with coffee stains from making the coffee layer sponge). And do send us in any of your family's favourite or your own special cake recipes, and any tips you want to share about cooking.
I know that one of my tips is that I like inventing my own special inventive mixes and I recently made some sponge batter that tasted great. But I didn't take enough care with measuring out an exact proportion of baking soda, which I added towards the end. So I put my wonderful creation in the oven and saw with excitement that it had risen. Then I excitedly took it out of the oven (impatient as ever!) and proudly gave a piece to my partner. I waited with anticipation for signs of glee and deliciousness but instead I got wincing and embarrassed confusion (as he thought should he lie or tell the truth). I said: But is must taste good, I tasted the mixture before I added the flour at the end and it was brilliant one of my best!?
My explanation came a few days later. When I researched my baking soda article I was reminded that adding too much baking soda can turn your baking bitter and a bit strange tasting. Ah, yes, I'd forgotten that chemistry really is all important.
Please excuse me now - I just have to go off and bake some carrot & cinnamon sponge let's see - I don't have any eggs, no butter!