Freestylin’ with sponge (near-cake-fail post)

I baked a cake this afternoon and due to a brain melt moment, narrowly avoided ruining the cake.  How awful would  that have been? to ruin a cake?  doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

Today was a bank holiday, the kidler was in nursery so whilst Him Indoors painted a wall, i decided that the best use of my time would be to:

  • go for a run (3.5 miles, done before 10am.  get in!)
  • clean out a few cupboards (the really full food cupboards.  gah.)
  • bake a cake.

The run was fab, I saw some llamas in a field and waved at them.  I hope nobody saw me.

Back from the run, i spent a good hour cleaning out the food cupboards.  now, i’ve absolutely no idea when i last did this.  ages ago.  maybe even when we moved into the house (2.5 years ago.  erk.) so high time to clean it out, get rid of the old food packages and make sure things were a bit more organised.  the herbs and spices were easy enough to do.  ditto condiments.  only by the time i got to the baking moutain, i lost a bit of interest and just bunged things back in to the shelf.  this move can also be known as “The Mistake”.  i didn’t pay much interest to what flour was there and just assumed all would be fine and dandy before i moved on to the next food cupboard.

By the time I got round to baking the cake, i just assumed that the flour i saw was the same as the flour i needed for the recipe.  Yep, “The Mistake”.

I was using Mary Berry’s traybake sponge recipe –

  • 8oz softened butter
  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 10 oz SELF RAISING flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • oven heated at 180deg

i can only assume my brain was addled from the run and the cupboard cleaning.  i made daft mistakes all round.  the butter wasn’t soft enough so i stuck it in the warming oven to melt a bit.  when i took it out, i gave it a good blast with the hand mixer until it was lovely and creamy.  fab.  then instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, i added the eggs.  to the hot butter.  Jings, crivens, help ma boab.  i damn near created scrambled eggs.  i just kept mixing it and hoping for the best.  added the sugar and it seemed to come together quite well.  added the milk, mixed, then…The Mistake.  I just picked up the flour bag, added 10 ounces and that’s when i read the label.  PLAIN flour.  expletive. 

after a bit of frantic searching, i found in my Phil Vickery Gluten Free baking book a wee note about how Xantham Gum is used to make gluten like structures in gluten free baking.  i’d gone through a bit of a fad with gluten free baking last summer so had some Xantham Gum in the cupboard (i did remember that from the clearing out) so stuck in a teaspoon and a bit of it into the mix along with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

the mix was by this point a bit on the doughy side.  i kept putting in milk until, well, i just splashed milk in until it looked a bit more like cake mix.  all the time i kept bashing away with the hand mixer until everything was well blended. then slopped it into a square silicon “tin” and stuck it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

end result?


light, fluffy, lovely cake. 

To think, i nearly ruined that cake…