Valentine’s Day to me is a great excuse to bake. I don’t like all the commercialism around Valentine’s Day, though. To me if you want to show someone you love them, its the little things every day, not just on the 14th February. Why wait until the 14th February to buy your loved one a bunch of flowers? They’re usually twice or three times the price! My hubby and I once went out on Valentines Day to dinner and it was a complete let down. The meal wasn’t very good, the tables in the restaurant were crammed close together so you felt like you were listening to other people’s conversations. It was expensive and the following day I went down with a stinking cold. So ever since then we make a nice dinner at home and I might bake a cake. But then again we do that at other times of the year.
This year I decided to take part in the Clandestine Cake Club’s monthly A Year of Cake Bakealong. If you see my last post it explains how the Bakealong works. For the February event we have to send our photos in by the end of the month. I chose to bake Margaret Knox’s Raspberry and Lemon Love Heart cake which is featured in the book to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
As mentioned in the recipe introduction ” but cake club members know the fastest way to your heart is through your stomach, so it’s an occasion for cakes! Presented with this pink, zingy flavoured fruity gift, your Valentine’s reaction is sure to echo one of the classic Love Heart messages: All Mine!”
Last September when the Clandestine Cake Club book A Year Of Cake came out we were invited to a special book launch party in Leeds. Everyone was drawn to Margaret’s beautiful cake with its delicate pastel pink icing. But the real treat was inside- the sponge is bright pink! To match the colour, the flavour is also achieved with real fresh raspberries and a hint of lemon. No wonder we loved the cake and it vanished off the table.
I couldn’t wait to bake it myself and was glad that I had the February Bakealong to do it. My husband would enjoy the cake itself but he’s not a fan of sugar paste. He could always take it off though.
So on Valentine’s Day itself I set to with baking this stunning cake. The cake is baked in two 20cm/ 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins which were greased and lined with baking parchment circles.
To make the cake itself I creamed together butter and sugar. To the creamed mixture I added eggs and self raising flour. When this was done, in went the zest of two lemons and some fresh raspberries. Finally I needed to turn the sponge pink, this was achieved with a few drops of pink gel food colouring. For colouring sponges I always use Dr Oetker gels which you can buy in most major supermarkets.
The mixture was divided between the two greased tins and baked for about 25 minutes. So far so good. When I took the cakes out of the oven though I was a bit worried as the top of the sponge didn’t look pink, it was very pale and was browned. I hoped the inside would look better. I thought maybe I hadn’t added enough food colouring but I thought I’d stuck loads in.
When the cakes had cooled I turned them out on to a rack and started to assemble the cake. The filling could be either with raspberry jam or lemon curd along with a simple buttercream. I made up some buttercream and found some raspberry jam in the cupboard. I didn’t have lemon curd so raspberry it had to be! The buttercream and jam were spread onto the cakes, they were layered up together and then onto the next stage of baking.
I then had to colour a packet of white sugarpaste myself. I find this a real pain and can never get it to be even coloured, it t always ends up with little streaks in. For colouring sugar paste I always use cocktail sticks and post blobs of the concentrated gel into the icing. Then I knead the colour in but always wear disposable catering gloves so the colour doesn’t stain my hands. Before I discovered that tip and got red food colouring on my hand, it looked like I’d had a nasty acciden
As you can see from these pictures above my sugarpaste colouring skills still need practice. At least I managed to cover the cake with with the sugarpaste without having a wrestling match with the rolling pin and lots of swearing. A little tip- that’s why ribbons around the edge of a cake always hides any mistakes!
To finish, I got out my cake smoother to flatten out the surface of the cake and added the Love Heart sweets to the top. There were a few sweets leftover in the packet and lo and behold the children came downstairs when they saw I had spares. I’m sure they have radar where sweets are concerned.
So did Mr SmartCookieSam enjoy his cake? No he didn’t because he said it was too sweet. But I took the remains to share out at the end of the Cake Club event I was going to the following night. I thought it tasted fab even though I say so myself.
Would I bake this amazing cake again? Of course I would.
Love Sam xx