special occasion treat

A cake to grace any party table ... classic baker Martjie Malan’s cookbook, Baking Secrets: Recipes for Every Occasion, is filled with an essential selection of quality recipes. Martjie shares not only her passion for baking, but also some of her secrets giving you the confidence to try and master even the most technical of cakes.
By Child magazine

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Raspberry-and-lemon sponge cake
 
Basic sponge cake
This is my go-to recipe: A soft sponge with a fine crumb and beautiful texture that can be transformed by adding any number of exciting and different syrup flavours. The base is deliciously sweet and absorbs syrup like a sponge – hence the name! It also keeps very well and can be frozen for later use. The technique takes some practice and precision, but once you have mastered it, this cake will give you great pleasure and you’ll be making it over and over again.
 
 
Ingredients
 
Basic sponge cake
  • 770 g butter
  • 180 g cake flour
  • 15 ml cornflour
  • 200 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 eggs
  • lemon syrup
  • 125 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 100 g sugar
 
Raspberry-and-lemon icing
  • 400 g butter, at room temperature
  • 600 g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 200 g raspberries
 
Equipment
  • 20 cm round cake pan or 2 x 15 cm cake pans lined with baking paper
  • Double boiler
  • Electric mixer
  • Broad paddle
  • Sharp knife or palette knife
  • Small saucepan
  • Cake cutter
 
 
Method
 
Basic sponge cake
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line the bottom of a cake pan with baking paper – don’t spray the pan or spread with butter. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Sieve the cake flour and cornflour into a mixing bowl and keep at hand. Prepare a double boiler with 2 cups of water heated over medium heat.
 
Place the sugar, salt and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until well mixed. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water and beat continuously using a wire whisk. The egg mixture should become warm and the sugar must dissolve. Test regularly to check whether the mixture is warm, and remove from the heat as soon as it is hot.
 
Place the mixing bowl in the electric mixer and beat with the balloon whisk at a high speed. The mixture should increase to three times its original volume, and be light in colour. Whisk until the mixture has cooled – about 5–7 minutes.
 
Use a broad paddle to carefully fold in the flour mixture; do this in three separate batches. Stir 2 tablespoons of the egg-and-flour mixture into the melted butter. Add this back to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and fold through well, careful not to lose too much volume. The mixture should be light, almost foamy, and have a light colour.
 
Pour the cake batter into the cake pan or pans and bake for 25–30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut carefully around the edge of the pan with a thin, sharp knife or palette knife. Keep the blade as close to the cake pan as possible.
 
Lemon syrup
Cook the ingredients in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
 
Raspberry-and-lemon icing
Place the butter in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft and smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat at a medium speed until the icing is white and creamy – about 5 minutes.
 
Add the lemon juice and beat through well. Add the raspberries and mix through at a slow speed. Add a tablespoon of boiling water to make the mixture easily spreadable.
 
 
Assemble the cake
Using a cake cutter, divide the cake into 4–6 layers of equal thickness (about 1 cm thick). Place the first layer on the cake plate and drizzle with the lemon juice, but be sure not to moisten the cake too much. Spread an even layer of the icing on top. Place the next layer on top and repeat until all the layers have been used.
 
Decorate the entire cake with a thin layer of the icing, making sure that the icing is smooth and even around the sides and on top. Decorate the top of the cake with choux puffs dipped in white-chocolate ganache, golden rose leaves and raspberries painted gold. Serve on your prettiest plate or cake stand.
 
 
About the book
Baking Secrets: Recipes for Every Ocassion by Martjie Malan (Quivertree Publishers, R376) is a beautifully illustrated book featuring easy-to-follow steps grounded on basic techniques and guideline to make your baking experience enjoyable and successful. This selection of quality recipes will ensure that you have the perfect bake for the right ocassion.

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