Both the baking and the writing of this post are a combined effort between myself and my 10-year old neighbour; we both wanted to make little cakes for our mothers and thought that it would be a good opportunity to share our favourite basic little-cake recipe with you and to do a couple of rather different variations on a theme. My neighbours and I spend many a happy hour watching Dr Who together so using the Dalek ‘cupcake wraps’ which I had purchased a little while ago (sadly discontinued) and had put away for a ‘rainy day’ was an obvious choice; it was decided that they would be chocolate-orange Daleks so the mixture included chocolate orange chips and they were topped with orange buttercream. My mother cannot stand buttercream (far too sweet) so I topped the little cakes with lemon icing and decorated them with stars (because she is a star!).
We look forward to hearing what weird and wonderful creations you make using this basic recipe – please send us a photo!
Basic sponge mixture
Makes approximately 24 cakes. You will see from the above picture that we used butter because I ran out of margarine; I wouldn’t recommend this because it makes the mixture a lot more dense. The observant amongst you will also notice that the photograph includes baking powder but that there is none listed below; this is because I am stupid and went on a wild-goose chase around Stroud before our baking session looking for the stuff (surprisingly hard to find the day before Mother’s day) only to remember when I got home that I didn’t need it. grrr.
- 12 oz / 175 g Self-raising flour
- a pinch of salt
- 8 oz / 110 g Soft margarine
- 80z / 110 g Caster sugar
- 4 Large eggs
- 2 dessert spoon lemon juice
- grated rind of 2 lemons
For half of the cakes we added chopped chocolate – dark chocolate with orange. The dark chocolate works well because the icing is so sweet.
We used this recipe for the piped icing with a couple of minor changes; we only used half the amount of the vanilla essence and we added zest from the orange. We used yellow, red and blue food colouring for the Daleks.
Icing sugar and lemon juice.
Pre-heat the oven to 190oC.
For the basic sponge mixture, put all of the ingredients into a bowl and combine with an electric whisk until very smooth. Transfer half of the mixture to another bowl and add the chopped chocolate.
Divide the mixture between paper cases – about a heaped tablespoon in each – and bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
For the butter icing follow the recipe in this link, but use less vanilla and add some orange zest (it’s rather too sweet otherwise).
Take a quarter of the mixture put into a piping bag then, starting at the outer edge of the cake, gently squeeze the bag and spiral towards the middle. Transfer another quarter of the icing into a separate bowl and mix in yellow food colouring a drop at a time. When you have got a shade of yellow that you are happy with add the icing to the piping bag; you will need to ice a ‘reject’ cake to push the remainder of the plain icing through, then you can ice your yellow Dalek! Repeat this with the red food colouring. Finally, add blue food colouring to the remainder of the icing. It is important that you use a fresh piping bag for the blue because it doesn’t mix well with red and yellow!
For lemon icing, put approximately 6 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar into a bowl and juice a lemon (you can also use bottled lemon juice). Add the lemon juice to the icing sugar a dash at a time until you get a smooth, stiff consistency. Spoon onto the cakes and spread with the back of a knife.
Both mothers thoroughly approved!