Friday, 17 June 2016

Camp cake

Hannah had signed up to family camp and, being the supportive family that we are, she was going alone.

One of the requirements of the camp is that participants take cake to share with fellow campers.  Hannah left it too late to bake anything, so I stepped in, and this is what I baked.


It’s a traditional chocolate sponge cake recipe, covered in buttercream with a smattering of white chocolate buttons.  I was impressed at the height of the cake - some cakes rise better than others, and this was a good one.

You will need two 7 inch cake tins, preferably with deep-ish sides.  The need a circle of baking parchment on the base and I greased the paper and the sides of the tin. My mum used to flour her cake tins too but her tins weren’t non-stick, whereas mine are.


  • 225g baking margarine - I use Stork and it has never failed me.  I buy the Stork in tubs - the stuff sold in blocks is best for pastry.  This may seem like a baking crime (surely butter is better) but margarine produces lighter results than butter.
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs (I used large eggs and they should be at room temperature)
  • 40g cocoa mixed with 4tbsp hot water (if you use medium eggs I would use 5tbsp of hot water here)
  • 225g SR flour (I used plain flour with 3tsp baking powder because I resent cupboard space being used for plain and SR flour)

For the buttercream:

  • 220g butter which needs to be soft and squidgy
  • 340g icing sugar
  • 110g cocoa
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
Optional decoration:
  • 17 white chocolate buttons


  • Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees.
  • Beat sugar and marg together for quite a while until it’s super light and fluffy. The colour should change as you beat it with the colour getting lighter and lighter.
  • Add the eggs and beat some more.  You will have a curdled mixture at this point.  You could add a bit of flour but I wouldn’t.  The curdling will not adversely impact the end result.
  • Add the cocoa and water mixture and beat again.
  • Fold in the flour.  You could use a mixer again here but the recipe said fold, so I folded. 
  • Scrape into cake tins and try and level the mixture out as best you can.  It sort of self levels a bit anyway so precision isn’t fantastically important.  If you have digital scales though you can use them to try and ensure you have even mixture distribution between the tins. #geekcooking
  • Bake on the middle shelf for 45 to 55 mins.  A light press on the top that gets a bounce back determines doneness.
  • When baked allow to cool for a couple of mins before turning out onto a wire rack.  A tall cylinder (like a tall mug) can be used to help push the cake up through the tin. Put the mug down on the surface, put the cake half on the mug and gently push the sides of the tin down to release the cake from its metal prison.
  • While the cakes are cooling you can make the buttercream.
  • Very gently beat the butter, the cocoa and half the icing sugar.  If you start mixing vigorously you’ll have icing sugar clouds everywhere.
  • Once the icing sugar is incorporated you can carefully add the remaining icing sugar and the milk.  Reserve a bit of the milk because the milk amount is what determines the texture.  You’re aiming for spreadable.
  • Once the cake has cooled spread enough buttercream on one half and sandwich the two halves together.
  • Put several splurges of buttercream on the top of the cake and use a palette knife (or maybe the back of a spoon) to speed the mixture around to cover the top.
  • To cover the sides I prefer to put more buttercream on the top and then gradually ease it onto the sides.
  • If you have an excess of buttercream you have two options: eat it or freeze it.  Buttercream freezes very well and can be beaten again when defrosted before using.
  • I’m not very good at decorating cakes but to get the look in the picture, grab a fork and work the icing upwards using the fork.  Continue the working the icing from the outer edge to the centre.
  • You’ll end up with a quiff in the centre of the cake.   Place a white chocolate button on it and then place remaining buttons around the edge of the cake.
  • To serve, give to your daughter and let her take it to Scout camp ensuring you’ll never see it again.