Forget January diets, we have got cakes to talk about…
Ceri Newton is responsible for making quite possibly some of the nicest cakes in the country and we have persuaded her to share some of her recipes with us.
Ceri runs Gorge’us cakes in Bebbington and in her first column she fills us in on how it all began and gives us her famous Victoria Sponge recipe, and trust us we had to do a lot of work to get it from her, it is special.
Cake is my thing. Along with, people, dressing up, showing off and being hilariously funny, actually, the latter may be just “my” thing, but I do crack myself up, maybe I’m misunderstood?
So, after enduring and surviving a hostage situation in an armed bank robbery, albeit partially deaf and temporarily a basket case, I decided to live the life I wanted, and do something I had always dreamed of.
People exclaimed “how brave”, but it didn’t feel brave per say, I have always been a bit adventurous (impetuous), accepting a job in Venezuela aged 18, my only concern at interview being the hairdressing situation in South America, anyway, I was only opening a shop for Gawds sake, at the beginning of a recession!
I had had the name forever, I don’t know where it came from, a dream I think, but wherever it was, I thought it brilliant. “GORGE’US” , an obvious play with feeding people up with deliciousness but mainly because the idea of answering the telephone “Hello Gorgeous” was just too hilarious to pass up.
I found the premises (way too small), fabulously located (in a street of 7, yes 7, estate agents), bought some nice crockery, 2 ovens and some mismatched tables and chairs and I was raring to go.
I opened my doors, without so much of a whisper of what I was doing, without staff and looking back, without a clue, but GORGE’US was born.
So that takes me back to the beginning really, Cake being my thing. I’m not talking about Sugar Fondant multi coloured, themed creations with amazing figures and decoration. So artistic. So time consuming, which got me thinking, when was what lies within all that fondant actually made? I have to be honest, I have never been overwhelmed by those sort of cakes, don’t get me wrong, they have their place, corporate and Big Birthdays, but they just aren’t the sort of thing to be enjoyed with a cup of Earl Grey or a frothy Cappuccino.
The sort of cake I wanted to make was reminiscent of Granny’s. Light, flavoursome, fresh, sometimes a bit wonky. I wanted homemade.
When people make cakes, they begin with the sugar and the butter, and they beat the living daylights out of it to make it light and creamy, that’s probably why the process is called “creaming”, then all the dry stuff is added with the eggs, it curdles more often than not and I always thought it resisted rising. I thought “she” felt a bit stiff and restricted, unable to reach her full potential. So I tried different ways to encourage her to float to the top of the tin. I had heard of the “all in one” method. I tried it, but it felt a bit “I can’t bothered” or “this’ll do”, everything flung into vessel together. Where was the air, the lightness or indeed the Love?!
I played about a bit and thought long and hard about what a sponge cake is – its mainly air. I experimented with ways to get the maximum amount of air into the batter. Eventually I turned the traditional method on its head and began with the dry ingredients first.
There she was, Victoria herself in all her majestic splendour. It was a bit of hallelujah moment for me and spurred me on.
And here it is the famous recipe, try for yourself and even better if you can send me pictures of your efforts.
Tweet me @gorgeouscakes or I am on facebook here
250g S R Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
250g Caster Sugar
250g Margarine / Butter
4 Large Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Heat Oven to 180°c
Place the Flour and Baking Powder into the bowl of the food processor, Switch on.
Weigh out Sugar and add to the bowl, Switch on.
Weigh out Margarine, add to the bowl along with the Vanilla and the 4 Large Eggs.
Stop after 30 seconds and scrape down bowl.
Divide the mixture equally between the 2 prepared tins, smooth out to edges.
Bake in oven for approx 30 mins – Every oven is different.
Do not be tempted to peek – Cakes don’t like draughts!!
When cake no longer looks “crepey” and is springy to a light touch, remove from oven and allow to cool.
Enjoy and feel proud!!