As one of my Christmas presents I got a beautiful tiered cake stand from my aunt. I have always thought they make little cakes and pastries look so elegant when displayed this way. I couldn’t wait to use it and so immediately organised an afternoon tea party with some friends and made some dainty little cakes which I could use on the stand.
I decided to go for a chocolate and a fruity option in order to please all tastes and so made some cocoa chocolate brownies and a lemon drizzle cake which I cut into small bite sized squares. The lemon sponge looked a little plain on its own and so I simply piped a little star of buttercream on top of each one and placed a tiny purple sugar ball in the center which transformed them into pretty little flowers. We had a great afternoon gossiping, catching up on each others news and munching mini cakes. Being mini they have the added bonus that you don’t feel guilty about sampling one or two… ok three of each.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
This sponge is very quick and simple to make and the zingy lemon syrup transforms it from an ordinary sponge into something special.
115g self raising flour
115g caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
25g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
100g icing sugar
Few drops food colouring
Colourful icing balls to decorate
Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease an 8inch/20cm square cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Simply weigh out all the sponge ingredients into a bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until well combined, creamy and slightly paler in colour.
Spread the cake mix out evenly into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Leave the cake in the tin.
Immediately make the syrup. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to the boil and allow to bubble for 2 minutes until slightly syrupy.
Prick holes all over the top of the still warm cake and drizzle over the lemon syrup.
Leave for an hour to allow all the syrup to absorb before removing from the tin.
To make the icing, beat the butter until smooth, then sift over the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, and beat until well combined.
Beat in a few drops of food colouring. Put the icing into a piping bag set with a star nozzle.
Cut the cake into 1inch/2.5cm squares and pipe a single blob of icing onto the top of each cake square. Top with a single coloured icing ball to make the icing blobs look like little flowers.
Makes 16 squares.
Cocoa Brownie Squares
(Recipe adapted from Weekend Food by Tamasin Day-Lewis)
These brownies are more of the cakey style brownie than the gooey fudgy kind, but it still has that slightly dense chewy texture and fine sugar crust. They are perfect for when you’re short of time or ingredients as they rely on cocoa powder for their dark chocolate flavour, meaning you don’t have to worry about melting any chocolate.
170g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
65g plain flour
80g chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease an 8inch/20cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Beat the sugar and eggs together until the eggs have thickened and turned pale in colour.
Melt the butter and pour it over the sugar and egg mixture.
Sieve the cocoa and flour over the top and fold it in using a spatula.
Add chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you wish.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 22 minutes until risen and a shiny surface has formed on top. It should still feel slightly soft in the centre.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before running a thin knife around the edge of tin to ensure the brownie doesn’t stick and turn out onto a wire rack.
Leave to cool completely before cutting into 1inch/20cm squares.
Makes 16 squares.