Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our favourite cake

Do you have a regular baking repertoire or do you seek new challenges each time you bake? I cannot resist new cookery books and regularly add to my groaning shelves. I cannot help but notice that many book
s are simply variations on those I already own but still I am lured by pretty covers and evocative words. My most used books remain pretty much the same, Nigella Lawson's How to Eat is well thumbed and often consulted, no pictures in this one but a very readable book. Equally readable and beautifully photographed is Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. I have several Nigel Slater books and love his style of cooking and writing. His books have all been well cooked from. A relative newcomer to my favourites is Tessa Kiros, Falling Cloudberries, good recipes, beautiful words and pictures. Of course there is Delia who cannot be beaten for fact and method. Then there are all the others......many, many others, some have never been cooked from (head hangs in shame). Some are browsed on occasion and some earn their place for the sake of just two or three recipes.

The cake above came from one such book, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall's Family Cookbook. It is a good book and I am a fan of Hugh but really there is nothing terribly new for me, most of the recipes and information I already have in other books. However, the marshmallow recipe was what gave this b
ook a place on the shelf, excellent marshmallows made with egg white and gelatine, a joy to make and eat.

Back to the cake, Victoria Sponge is a cake which I have made many times but remains a favourite, simple, no adulterations but always with jam and cream. This is the birthday cake of choice for The Technical Advisor and he has even been known to bake his very own version for entry into the hotly contested "Men's Victoria Sponge" section of the village show. That's right, very hotly contested, possibly one of the most competitive sections of the entire show.

This cake was baked partly because Jane's was still fresh in my mind and partly because The Family Cookbook version caught my eye. The recipe was the same as any other I have used but for one difference, the eggs are weighed (in their shells) and then the other ingredients are weighed to match. My four eggs came 282g so that is the exact amount of flour, sugar and butter I used and the result was a fine big cake, truthfully the best I have ever made.


Blogger Ali said...

We have many cookbooks in common. Coveting them is a bit of a disease for me. Must use the library more...

And I love the 'Men's sponge' competition!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 7:38:00 pm  
Blogger Karen said...

That looks a truly splendid cake! I've never weighed the eggs before, but shall give it a try.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 7:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cake looks great. My Nan used to make her cakes the same way.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007 7:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Ali Irish said...

My husband love the Nigel Slater books. I think he's cooked something from all of them (and he does own all of them!). We love Nigella, too.

I think it's their enthusiasm for food that gets us, that we can have lovely wonderful food without the guilt.

Have you tried making Nigella's nutella cake from her Domestic Goddess book? It comes out looking like the picture in the book!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 8:15:00 pm  
Blogger Charity said...

Mmmm, your sponge looks so lovely! I just popped over to my library's website to reserve a Nigella Lawson book, they sound great! :0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:29:00 pm  
Anonymous kim said...

First, a very Happy Birthday to the technical advisor! That cake looks scrumptious.

I tend to make old favorites over and over. But every now and then I try some new recipes. If I have to bring something to an event, I will not try anything new. I've had too many mishaps to take that chance again. An old favorite is Coconut Bread. Very yummy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:34:00 pm  
Blogger marit said...

mmm...that cake looks yummi, I'd like to give it a try!
I have lots of cookbooks, but tend to use only the recipes in my handwritten one, you know the recipes you get from your mom or mother-in-law or a friend or occasionally find in a magazine(or on a blog:-))

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Sam said...

Just had to comment, to let you know that I think that my three most loved and used cookbooks are lawson/slater/kiros trinity.I bought the Fearnley Wittingstall's Family Cookbook in January, and haven't cooked from it yet. This was a source of great guilt every time I spied it on the bookshelf, until now. Thank you for giving me justification for my purchase! We'll be trying the sponge by the end of the week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 10:40:00 pm  
Blogger Arianwen said...

homemade marshmellows? Now that sounds like a dangerous recipe to own!! The cake looks delicious I shall try that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007 3:55:00 pm  
Blogger Di said...

Wow - the Victoria sponge looks great! I too love the Delia books, the Nigella books - want to check outhe Falling Cloudberries book - I've seen it calling to me in the shops on a number of occassions!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:36:00 pm  
Blogger Bethany Hissong said...

Yum! You are inspiring me to cook again! I'm in a rut right now.
And I laugh every time you call your husband the "technical advisor"... that would be a perfect name for my husband too!! (Happy Birthday to him!)

Friday, August 31, 2007 12:37:00 am  
Blogger Artis-Anne said...

That looks so yummy:)I too own many of Nigel Slaters books and I love his style of cooking . Plus some of Nigella and of course Delia's but again and again I go back to my mothers old copy of Good Housekeeping for the basic recipies which I think are unbeatable like the Gingerbread , one of our family favs .
Happy baking :)

Friday, August 31, 2007 9:08:00 am  
Blogger Jocerane said...

Can I have some?
I have my favorite recipes, that I often cook, and I also love cookbooks, and love to try new things, most of the time foreign recipes...
Recently, I bought Macarons recipes, but I have'nt done them yet.

Friday, August 31, 2007 12:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Jane said...

That cake looks so yummy Rebecca! I don't have too many cookbooks, but my favorite is "Joy of Cooking". It has been used so often and has traces of almost everything I've cooked from

Saturday, September 01, 2007 12:47:00 pm  
Anonymous marjorie said...

Tilly's socks are great and they will indeed keep her toes warm on chilly mornings. I think hand knit socks feel so wonderful on, store bought ones just aren't the same. I like to try new recipes now and then but I really like to add a few new ingredients to the old familiar ones, so no one gets bored. Your cake looks yummy. I think I may try a filling like that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007 3:14:00 pm  
Blogger Lucette said...

You have inspired me to take up cake baking again. That cake is stunning.
(your knitting is not too shabby either.)

Sunday, September 02, 2007 9:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Simmy said...

I'm sure that's how we learned to make Victoria Sandwich in Home Economics - I remember the mantra 'weight of an egg' clearly. Had forgotten about it though.

I have pretty much the same cookbooks and the children have sued HFW's Family cookbook to make marshmallows and sausages and I think Amber tried the ice-cream in a jar too.

By the way, we went to Shell Island and it was really nice but as with many places it would have been much better had the sun shone more brightly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:38:00 am  
Anonymous Alison (perviously of veryotterly!) said...

What an extremely sensible way to make a cake! And yes, I have a cookbook addiction, too. And sadly, a very unadventurous partner when it comes to food... It's not that I mind the dog getting the leftovers (or me getting them for lunch the next day!) but it's a pain trying to think what *else* J could eat when he (inevitably) doesn't like dinner.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 2:50:00 pm  
Blogger picperfic said...

I have only just started wieghing my eggs for a victoria sponge, something I did quite naturally after many a cake curdling mishap. These mishaps were caused by living in the country and buying local very large eggs! So annoying. I have most of the mooks you mention with the exception of Hugh FW, i like to watch his programmes, I enjoy his down to earth ways! Yum! Those photos are scrumptious!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

I own may of the books you listed. I am wondering... Is it possible to make marshmallows using agar agar (a seaweed-based product which acts like gelatine) instead of the real gelatine?(made with some pretty scary ingredients). Your blog is a treat to read!

Saturday, September 15, 2007 10:04:00 pm  

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