Weekend bake Winter spice cake
A great alternative to the classic iced dried-fruit variety, this delicious bake will fill your home with the scent of Christmas
Makes A 20cm sq cake
Takes 1hr 35min plus cooling time
FOR THE CAKE
● 225G SALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED, PLUS EXTRA FOR GREASING
● 4 STAR ANISE, BROKEN INTO PIECES
● 225G CASTER SUGAR
● ½TSP GROUND CINNAMON
● 2TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
● 4 MEDIUM EGGS, BEATEN
● 350G SELFRAISING FLOUR
● 150G WHITE CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
● 4TBSP FULL-FAT MILK ● ICING SUGAR
● PAPER DOILY, WITH A STAR CUT OUT OF THE CENTRE (TRY THE PARTY PORCELAIN GOLD, £4 FOR 24, TALKING TABLES)
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas 4. Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20cm sq cake tin, then line with baking paper.
2 Using a coffee or spice grinder, grind the star anise and 25g caster sugar to a powder. Tip into a bowl. Add the remaining sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
3 Stir in the flour until almost combined, then add the chocolate and milk, and stir again until just combined. Pour the mixture into the tin and level the surface. Bake for 1hr 15min or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15min, then turn out onto a rack. Leave to cool.
4 Rest the doily on the top of the cake to act as a stencil and dust with the icing sugar. Lift off the doily, leaving behind the pattern.