Recipe 22 – Coffee & Walnut Sponge Cake

Not a lover of walnuts, so wasn’t sure whether or not I would like this cake!

Right, first things first, oven on.  Two 18cm (7″) sandwich tins greased and bases lined.
Had forgotten to take the butter out of the fridge, so gave it a quick 10 seconds in the microwave to soften it!  In with the caster sugar, 2 eggs, flour and baking powder.  After watching the GBBO yesterday on television and seeing the mistakes they made with their baking powder, I must have read the recipe about a dozen times to make sure I had got the right amount – 1 tsp.  Checked the measuring spoon again and again, just to make sure!  
Had to chop the walnuts, that was fun, started off chopping one at a time, but that was a mistake they just shot everywhere over the worktop.  Much more sensible to chop them all together!  In with the walnuts and then the coffee essence.  Oh, I had coffee extract – is that the same – wasn’t sure, so still added the same amount and prayed that it wouldn’t be too strong a flavour or no flavour at all.
On with the whisk, whisked the mixture all together until it was blended and smooth.  There didn’t seem to be very much mixture – checked the recipe again to make sure I didn’t need to double the amount as this was for two tins!  Nope, that was the correct amount.  Spooned the mixture into the two tins and levelled it out.  It hardly covered the bottom of the tins!
Into the oven it went.  Mary said for 35-40 minutes.  I checked after 30 minutes and my sponges were cooked, they were springy and starting to shrink away from the sides.  However, they hadn’t risen at all.  Well a very slight bit in the middle.  Was this the first Mary Berry failure I was to experience!!  Waited 5 minutes and then turned them out.  They looked pathetic.  Had a bit of a giggle (better than crying), even my daughter laughed and promptly took a photo of them to send round to her friends!
Right, I thought obviously did something wrong, will make it again.  So made the mixture again, popped it into the oven.  They rose slightly more this time, but nothing like I expected them to.  One actually rose more than the other, which you will see from the photo.
Onto the buttercream.  Icing sugar – it’s going to be messy.  Just sifting the icing sugar leaves a lovely fine dust all over the work surface.  Once you’ve added the butter, coffee essence and milk well, it could have gone everywhere.  For once, I used my head and draped a teatowel (clean I hasten to add) over the bowl and whisked.  The mess was minimal.
Once the cakes were cold half of the buttercream was spread on one cake and then the other placed on top, with the remainder of the icing being spread over this.  Eight walnut halves were then placed round the cake.  It didn’t look too bad now, a bit on the thin side but respectable.
I think smaller tins may have been ideal and it was uncanny that the same evening on GBBO they cooked the same cake.  I was convinced that smaller tins were used, they definitely looked tiny to the ones I used.  I even got a tape measure out to measure my tins to make sure I had cooked them in the right size – I had.
Anyway, the cake itself tastes lovely and it is so moist.  Another one that will not be hanging around too long in our house…

12th January 2012


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