lemon birthday cake

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Hi everybody! I hope you are all having a fabulous holiday! Yes I am, thanks for asking!

So, as it’s Great British Bake Off Night tonight I thought that we could all get into the baking spirit and bake a cake together although I am well aware that “Cake Week” was last week and it is “Biscuit Week” this week! I doubt that you are actually going to bake this tonight but if you do then that’s lovely and enjoy! Imagine, all of you beautiful people baking this cake all at the same time…What a lovely moment I’ve created!

I baked this cake for my Mummy’s birthday this August and it was scrummy if I may say so myself! It is a very simple cake but I often find that the simple cakes are the best… They’re “Simply The Best!” Sometimes, you don’t crave anything fancy. You just want a good chocolate cake or a classic Victoria sponge. Comfort food. Personally, I’d rather a generous slab of chocolate cake loaded with way too much buttercream than a stingy portion of some posh cake from a French Patisserie.

Ok, enough chit chat… Lets get baking!

First you need to make yourself a classic vanilla sponge. I used Mary Berry, The Queen Of Baking’s recipe because.. well.. who else’s would I use?! This is a very easy recipe to remember because everything weighs 225g (butter, sugar and flour) and then you just add 2 tsp of baking powder, 4 eggs and a splash of vanilla extract! You then just use the all-in-one method which basically means shove everything in a bowl and mix it! Easy peasy lemon squeezey! A very appropriate expression for this recipe!

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It is easier to bake this in two sandwich tins but I was in my holiday home so only had a regular loose-bottom tin. I know… what kind of baking fanatic doesn’t have a pair of sandwich tins?! I disappointed myself too…This is fine, it just means you have to cut the cake into two layers yourself. If you are baking this in two sandwich tins, bake it for about 20-30 minutes and if you are baking it all in one tin then bake it for 45-55 minutes. Both at 180°C (160°C in a Fan Oven or Gas Mark 4.) Basically bake it until its golden, bouncy and a skewer comes out clean. You know the rules!

Whilst your cake is baking, this is a good time to make your buttercream. I made up the recipe for this lemon buttercream and was far too pleased with myself, announcing to the table several times that I had made the recipe up all by myself. And if I say so myself, I did a jolly good job of it! Not to toot my own horn or anything but.. Toot toot. This recipe creates a very zesty and lemony buttercream which pipes like a dream. Here are the measurements:

260g icing sugar

80g butter

2-3 tbsp milk

Juice and zest of 2/3 of a lemon (Use a microplane grater to zest if you don’t want the lemon zest to be visible in your buttercream. Personally I like the little flecks of yellow amongst the white!)

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Pop that in a tupperware and store in the fridge until your cake is completely cool and ready to decorate and assemble.

Once your cake is baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool in the tin for a while before you turn it out onto a wire rack for it to finish cooling completely. Don’t turn it out too early or it might fall apart because it is quite fragile when it first comes out but becomes more sturdy as it cools. Good job! You’ve baked a beautifully golden cake!

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This next step is optional. If you want to have a round top on your cake then you don’t have to do this. But if you would like the top of your cake to be flat then you can carve the risen top off the cake and use the bottom of the cake as the top (unless you’re going to ice the top.) Gosh I made that sound far more complicated than it needed to sound! If I’m honest I wasn’t too bothered about the round top, I just wanted some offcuts to eat! Not to eat… I mean… to taste… to make sure the cake was ok… it was a technical thing that I had to do and had nothing to do with my personal enjoyment…

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Now comes the scary bit, unless you have sandwich tins, then you can sit smugly and watch us struggle. Its not as scary as looks. You just need to keep your knife straight! I like to score around the edge of the cake first and then follow that line when I am cutting.

Well done! If you’ve got two cakes in front of you then you’ve done great! Don’t worry if its not perfect!

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Now for the fun part… Assembly! No not school assembly… the assembly of the cake, silly! Such a bad joke… Don’t judge me, I’m sleepy!

Take a knife and put a big blob (technical term) of the best lemon curd you can find in the centre of one of your cakes. I used duchy originals lemon curd from Waitrose and lets just say more lemon curd ended up on my finger and in my mouth than ended up on the cake… Anyway, lets move on… Spread this to the edges using a knife or a spatula. I had to change from my knife to my spatula as I figured that using the knife that I had been licking lemon curd off wouldn’t be very hygienic.

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Now you have two choices. You can either pipe the buttercream onto the lemon curd and put the other cake on top OR you can do what I did which is much trickier and put the buttercream on the other cake and sandwich them together by dropping that onto the lemon curd half. I recommend the former if you don’t have a good aim like me. It ended out ok… But next time I think I’ll pipe!

Remember, if you want to use buttercream to decorate the the top of the cake then leave some behind!

photo 4 photo 5As you can see I had a bit of a lemoncurdissquidgingoutofmycake situation but I had no problem sorting that out with some good ole’ finger lickin’!

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Fill your piping bag/sandwich bag with buttercream and if you’re really pro fit a nozzle in it aswell. Now, pipe to your heart’s content! Do what you want with it and make it your own!

I went with some cute little spots and swirls and topped with some juicy red strawberries! Its not perfect and I don’t think that Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood would be very impressed with my presentation but it’s made by me and thats the most important thing! Everyone loved it and it went down a treat!

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Now the most important stage of the process…. CUT THE CAKE AND EAT IT!

Here are some yummy looking pictures to persuade you to make this cake!

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HAPPY BAKING! ❤

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