I’m not sure how the tradition came about, but when I was young my Dad always made the birthday cakes around my house. Sometimes he even made his own cake, and it is a family tradition that I carried with me when I left home.
Initially I just make ordinary vanilla sponge cakes, but my eldest daughter has a passion for chocolate, so now I tend to make chocolate cakes, using my dear departed Dad’s easy recipe.
Dad’s Easy Chocolate Cake
Skill level: beginner
Preparation time: less than 30 minutes
Baking time: 30 mins
- 225g/8oz butter or margarine, softened
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 220g/7¾oz self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
- Lightly grease the tins and line the bases with non-stick baking
parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Measure the butter or margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder
and cocoa into a large bowl and beat for about two minutes, until just
blended; an electric mixer is best for this, but of course you can also
beat by hand with a wooden spoon.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and level the
surface with the back of a spoon or a plastic spatula.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until well risen and golden. The tops of
the cakes should spring back when pressed lightly with a finger.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then run a small
palette knife or blunt knife around the edge of the tins to fee the
sides of the cakes. Turn the cakes out on to a wire rack, peel off the
paper and leave to cool completely.
- Choose the cake with the best top, then put the other cake top
downwards on to a serving plate. Spread with the jam and whipped
cream, put the other cake on top (top upwards) and sprinkle with
caster sugar to serve.
The Best Cake Advice I Have Received
No matter how badly you want to see what is happening in the oven, never ever open the door to the oven once you put the cake in until it is at least 80% of the way through the cooking time. (Unless of course a fire breaks out)
Don’t ask me about the science behind it, but cakes need air inside them, and if you open the door the rush of cold air will draw out all the air from inside the cake you and will be left with a lifeless lump which in no way resembles a cake!