Perfect party cakes
Raspberry vanilla cake
Prep 1 hr Chill Overnight Bake 1 hr Serves 10-12
125g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
200g caster sugar 3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp salt
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 160g whole milk
6 tbsp raspberry jam
For the icing
120g fresh raspberries 500g icing sugar, sifted, plus 2 tbsp extra
1 tbsp milk
190g unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp kirsch tsp lemon juice
Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, vanilla and salt, and mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder, then fold half into the butter. Add the milk, then the remaining flour. Pour into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 50-60 minutes. Leave to cool, then remove from its tin.
To make the icing, puree the raspberries with the two tablespoons of icing sugar, then strain. Transfer to an electric mixer. Add the milk, butter and 250g of the icing sugar, and beat on low for three minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until the icing is light but holds its shape. Mix in the kirsch and lemon juice.
Wash and dry the tin, and line with clingfilm. Cut the cake into thirds horizontally. Slide the bottom layer into the lined tin and pipe a border of icing around the edge. Smooth half the jam over, and pipe a few stripes of icing on top. Put the middle sponge on top and repeat. Top with the third sponge, pull up the sides of clingfilm and wrap up the cake. Chill overnight before removing from the tin to ice the top and sides. Scatter with more berries and serve.
Lemon drizzle loaf
Prep 1 hr Bake 1 hr Serves 8
265g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
265g caster sugar 3-4 lemons, zested
265g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt
For the lemon drizzle 1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the icing 250g icing sugar 2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Grease a 25cm x 10cm loaf tin with butter and line the base and sides with parchment, to about 5cm above the top.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar well. Mix in the lemon zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix half of this into the butter mix, scraping down the sides, until barely combined.
With the mixer still going, beat in all the milk, then add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl and give it one last mix.
Scoop the mix into the tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top of the cake is springy and a skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the lemon drizzle: in a small pan, heat the sugar, water and lemon juice until the sugar is just melted. Do not let it boil or it will lose its fresh flavour. While the cake is still in the tin, use a skewer to poke holes evenly throughout the loaf. Pour over the drizzle.
To make the icing, in a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Take the cake out of the tin, drizzle with the icing, then lift on to a serving dish.
Summer spelt almond cake
Prep 45 min Bake 1 hr 10 min Serves 8-10
175g butter, softened, plus more for greasing 175g light brown sugar 2 eggs
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod 125g ground almonds 175g wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt
200g halved cherries, or whole berries
200g peaches or nectarines, sliced
2 tbsp caster sugar Rose petals, for scattering (optional)
For the icing (optional) 200g icing sugar 1-2 tbsp rose water Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Grease a 23cm cake tin with butter and line with parchment.
First make the sponge. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almonds, and mix to combine.
In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt, then gently beat the dry ingredients into the butter mix.
Spread the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Scatter the cherries over the batter, then press the slices of peach into the top.
Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back to the touch. Let the cake cool in its tin for about 15 minutes before turning it out on to a serving plate.
If using the icing, whisk the rose water into the icing sugar until smooth and runny. Drizzle this over the cooled cake, then scatter with garden rose petals, if you have them. This is best eaten on the day you bake it.
Honey and rose water madeleines
Prep 1 hr Bake 10-12 min Makes 12
100g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing 100g plain flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp rose water 100g caster sugar 2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
For the icing
2-3 tbsp rose syrup 200g icing sugar
You will need a 12-hole madeleine tin to make these. Melt a good amount of butter and leave to cool slightly, then brush it into the tin and dust with flour. Put the tin in your freezer for five minutes or so, then repeat the process – if you are using a silicone mould, you can omit this second step. Keep the tin in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, carefully melt the butter, then take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Add the honey to the butter to dissolve it, then add the rose water.
In a bowl, whisk the caster sugar and eggs until smooth, then whisk in the melted butter mix. In another bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder, then whisk these dry ingredients into the egg and butter mix until smooth. Spoon the batter into the tin.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the madeleines have formed a peak in their middles and the tops spring back to the touch. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a minute or two.
Meanwhile, make the icing: whisk the rose syrup into the icing sugar until smooth and runny.
Turn the madeleines out of the mould and dip them in the icing or drizzle over the top. Serve right away – they are best eaten within the hour. (Remember, you can make the madeleine mixture in advance and bake it just before you want to serve.)