Recipe 146 – Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

This was my daughter’s choice today, she felt like baking and it had to be a real cake, which I eventually worked out to be a ’round cake’ – it couldn’t be a traybake or small cake or loaf, it had to be a ’round cake’.

So this was to be a joint effort.  I think it actually ended up in a cake of two halves – she made the cake, I made the icing!

The oven was put on toe preheat at 140°.  I then discovered that we needed three 20cm (8″) sandwich tins.  I have two.  In the end we used three 17cm (7″) tins!  These were lightly greased and the bases lined with baking parchment.

This was another one of Mary’s all in one recipes (which I think my daughter was pleased about – as I told her she had to do the washing up), so into a large bowl went 225g softened butter (it was in fact softened just a little too much in the microwave and had half melted!), 225g caster sugar, 4 eggs, 225g self-raising flour, 2 level teaspoons baking powder and 100g walnuts.  We had slightly less than 100g walnuts, but as my daughter and myself aren’t too keen on walnuts we weren’t to bothered!

My daughter decided to use the electric hand whisk to mix everything together, I think she would have struggled to beat it all by hand.  Once the mixture had been thoroughly blended she divided the mixture out between the three tins and levelled the surface.  The tins were placed in the oven for 25 minutes.  They actually remained in the oven in total for 30 minutes as they weren’t quite ready after 25 minutes.

Once out of the oven they were left in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and the parchment peeled off the bottoms.

It was now my turn to make the frosting.  A small pan of water was put onto the hob and brought to a gentle simmer.  Over the pan went a mixing bowl and into this went 2 large egg whites, 350g caster sugar, 4 tablespoons of water and 1/4 level teaspoon of cream of tartar.  The mixture was whisked continually, over the pan of water, for approximately 10 minutes until it was really thick.  I must admit I was slightly worried at the beginning as I had used golden caster sugar and my mixture didn’t look very white, it was an off cream colour, but the more I whisked it the whiter it became.

This is the point that worried me, Mary states to work quickly once you start to cover the cake as the icing sets rapidly.  I quickly sandwiched the three layers together using a small amount of the frosting before using the remainder to cover the top and sides of the cake.  The top was swirled with the palette knife into softened peaks.  In all honesty I could probably have put quite a lot more between the layers, as the icing was incredibly thick.

The cake was put into the dining room to set – Mary states not to put it in the fridge.  Once set it was time to decorate the top with a few walnut halves.  We didn’t have any did we!  Luckily my husband was just about to pop out to drop my son off at football practice so he kindly popped into the shops on the way home and bought a packet of walnut halves for me.  Once the cake was decorated and photographed it was time for it to be eaten!

I think we all enjoyed this cake.  The icing was very sweet and a little sickly but overall it tasted great.  My husband said he would have liked a few more walnuts in the cake, but the rest of us liked it the way it was.  It was nice to spend some time baking in the kitchen with my daughter.  Now that she is older she either bakes by herself or not at all nowadays, so I enjoyed the afternoon!

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5th February 2013

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