Wednesday 1 April 2015

Easter holidays

In previous years the Easter holidays haven't been all that significant, either we've worked through them or gone to visit relatives. This year though is the first where my son's nursery stops for the holidays, and we've decided to stay at home and enjoy some family time. So I have two weeks of toddler entertainment and play dates to get through, and baking a cake seems a good place to start: firstly it's a good activity to entertain a small person for a bit, and secondly it means there's something good to eat when we have friends to visit.

I have plenty of bakes planned this holiday, but we started with something easy, a basic Victoria sponge. I used the all-in-one recipe from Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell, which is essentially a standard Victoria sponge recipe with a little baking powder and some milk added. The huge advantages of using an all-in-one recipe are that it's rather quicker than the standard method, and it'll still rise even if you have an over-enthusiastic toddler assisting with the mixing. And as it's quicker, I let my son weigh out the fat for it, one knife-tip (4 g) at the time. It took a while!

We managed to spread this activity over two days, baking the cake on Monday and icing it yesterday. I usually decorate cakes with something chocolatey, but as I'm still avoiding chocolate until the weekend, I had to think of something else. I'd picked up some bargain pirate decorations at the supermarket a few weeks ago, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them, especially as my toddler was so excited about them! So we set about making butter icing (1 part butter to 2 parts icing sugar, maybe a little hot water to bring it all together, add a splash of vanilla extract (and some blue food colouring,my son said it was essential) and beat like crazy. We spread it liberally inside and atop the cake and added the pirate decorations. And voilĂ , one pirate themed Victoria sponge!

Ok, the aesthetic probably isn't quite what I would have gone for - my son found another box of pirate decorations (the paper ones) and added as many as would fit. He had a great time!

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