By Amy Treasure
I’ve devoured the whole series of The Great British Bake-Off, each week I think to myself ‘I must make that’ of course in my head I think my culinary skills could stretch to making a cake resembling a giant peacock, but the reality is it would be one massive flop!
What I can manage though, is a really good moist sponge, iced and topped off with something beautiful. I discovered a love for using edible flowers in my baking about a year ago and every so often I’ll buy a box and make something pretty. It really does give me a huge amount of pleasure seeing the finished product, which looks fantastic and gives the wow factor but is actually incredibly easy to achieve.
For the sponges
225g/8oz self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
100g/3½oz walnuts, finely chopped
225g/8oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs, beaten
For the buttercream
- 125g/4½oz butter, softened
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 250g/9oz icing sugar
For the boiled icing
2 large egg whites
350g/12oz caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees/Gas mark 3
- Grease and line two sandwich tins. I used 20cm/8inch
- For the sponge: in a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and walnuts. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add your beaten eggs in gradually.
- Fold the wet and dry ingredients together and bake in the oven for around 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- For the buttercream: put the butter, vanilla extract, one tablespoon of milk and half the icing sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining icing sugar and add the other tablespoon of milk if needed.
- Spread the buttercream over one of the cakes and sandwich them both together.
- For the boiled icing: add the egg whites, sugar, 4 tablespoons of cold water and cream of tartar to a bowl and place over a pan of hot (not boiling) water.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar and once dissolved remove from the heat and beat for around 8 minutes until thick and shiny.
- Ice the cake with a swirling motion but be sure to do it quickly before the icing sets.
- Leave to cool and then decorate with edible flowers.
- Get ready to impress your guests with a beautifully presented and delicious cake!
If you have any flowers left over use them to make ice cubes, just pop them into ice cube trays, pour over water and freeze ready to use in your Christmas cocktails.
In homage to GBBO, the above-adapted recipe is from the queen of baking Mary Berry. You can see the original recipe here.
Let us know what you think about adding edible flowers to your cakes, would you eat them?