This was my first.
First cake I ate.
First cake I saw my mother making.
First cake that I made.
I was 5 when I made this cake, on my own. Yes, it is that easy, breezy, lemon squeezy.
Ingredients to make a 21cm diameter, round cake
½ cup sugar (preferably caster sugar as it makes the creaming process much, much quicker)
1 cup of self-raising flour sifted together with ½ teaspoon of baking powder
Zest and Juice of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line base of the cake tin with greaseproof paper (baking paper) and grease the walls of the tin with butter.
Stir the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. When it sufficiently mixed, mixture will seamlessly fall off the mixing spoon when lifted above the bowl. The colour changes from butter yellow to an off-white/cream colour.
I always make cakes by hand. Using my trusty wooden spoon and making sure I mix in one direction only. If you use a machine, mix on medium until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until totally combined. This prevents the eggy smell that cakes can sometimes have.
Add an egg, mix until combined, add a sifted tablespoon of flour until combined. Repeat until all eggs have been added.
Add the zest and half of the juice.
Lastly, add the flour.
Mixture should look like
If you feel it looks dry, add some more juice or some milk.
Spoon mixture into the tin aiming to place it nearer the walls and avoiding the centre of the tin. This is to prevent the cake rising in the middle instead of having a uniform height.
Place tin on a shelf in the middle of the oven.
Set timer for 30 minutes. Yes! enough time for you to clean up after yourself and enjoy a brew.
Timer goes off, carefully open the oven door and test the centre of the cake. The cake tester should come out clean, demonstrating that the cake is cooked.
Take cake out of the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Gently remove cake from tin and place on a cooling rack.
Once cool, demolish at once or add some simple decorations and then present to your adoring family and friends.
In earlier posts, I have mentioned that it was not easy to tease recipes from my mother. I have proof. I asked Mum for her orange cake recipe and this is what I got.
I absolutely love baking. Knowing what is in the cake I am eating and that there are no hidden nasties is satisfying. Satisfaction of creating something scrumptious that brings a smile to others really makes my heart happy. As for the aroma that lingers in my home – Wow!
Everyone should bake at least once in their lives.
When I was a child, we use to bake our own bread. We made loaves, rolls, plaited rolls, knot rolls. It was a commitment. Waiting for the yeast to make the batter rise. I remember the kneading, leaving the loaves to prove, warm water, being careful with temperature of the room, the yeast and so on. I enjoyed doing it as a family but would never do it on my own. Too much hard work although there’s no substitute for eating fresh, warm bread with a bit of butter.
So to baking cakes, most of the cakes I make take 30 minutes or less to make. They may be cut into slices and frozen. Power to you if you have the will power! I share some of my recipes here. If you do make one of them, feel free to be creative and change ingredients then let me know what works.
If you are a first time baker, and your cake does not turn out well, please, do not give up. The first cake or even changing ovens can affect the outcome of your cake.
Know your oven. Not all created equal. Is it hotter on the left than the right? Is the temperature gauge correct or is 180°C more like 175°C?
Mix batter in one direction. Doesn’t matter which direction as long as once you start mixing, keep stirring in that direction.
Let the cake sit in the tin for at least 10 minutes. It will shrink away from the tin walls and makes it easier to remove from the tin.
Sometimes it is better to use a metal spoon rather than a wooden spoon. Know when to use which.
Beating eggs is not always necessary. However, it is essential for cakes such as banana cake which requires minimal mixing. (Let me tell you a joke about eggs that will have you cracking up – no pun intended. Question – Why are cooks abusive? Answer – They are always beating eggs. Bahahahahahaha… No? Not funny? Ah well!)
Sift the flour. Yes, you know who you are.
Bake a cake! At least once, I guarantee you will enjoy the experience.
A few words from people who have eaten my cakes not once, twice but many times.
The expression ‘made with love’ is used a lot these days but when it
comes to cakes made by Antoinette the phrase is deserved. They
actually are and made slowly and carefully with quality ingredients
with no shortcuts, right through to the hand mixing. Rarely do
electric devices make it into her kitchen. There is something about
the texture and taste that is hard to replicate or find elsewhere. I
have seen faces light up as the first bite is taken and the pleasure
and surprise registers…What am I eating? Wasn’t this was just a cake?
There is the signature Vanilla Cake, huge and moist with a delectable
smooth, warm vanilla aroma, occasionally with a hint of something
unexpected like strawberry, it never fails and never makes it to the
freezer. After that could be anything from simple wholesome muffins to
decadent hazelnut chocolate ganache concoctions. Standard ingredients
or special requests are easily accommodated with a wave of the hand.
Whether it’s for an afternoon tea or a wedding or formal function,
Antoinette can produce cakes that leave you feeling good about life
with a satisfied wondering and a secret hope of more of the same
Carmel Mathews, Jamestown, South Australia
Who would have thought, that zucchinis were good for the cake! They are!
The most delicious cake as well… So moist and sweet and mouth-watering. I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Trying to make one yourself? No chance, unless you follow the recipe to the dot. Sieve flower: what is the that? Beat eggs by hand, without electrical mixer? Come on! And vanilla: not just any vanilla powder, you would have in your pantry.
Sound impossible? Yes! Just let my friend make it.
Svetlana Marchouba, Melbourne, Victoria
Antoinette baked one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. One of the things I must say is that all her cakes I tasted had very different and rich flavors,
From the fruit cake to the chocolate cake…
One that I still crave for and I tell her all the time that when she gets back I must have had a citrus feel to it and the orange zest added to it was really in tune with my palate.
I liked the fact that she paid attention to detail while baking her cakes;
The texture for one was superb, it was fluffy, moist, spongy and not bland.
It was attractive and the ingredients were rich and not rationed which I hate! Lol
In general, her cakes make the top list in cakes I have eaten and can’t wait to have more of them and even learn to bake some when she is free to teach me too.
Uchechi Nzewunwah, Abuja, Nigeria
I have had quite a number of cakes meant for several occasions, but once I tasted her Vanilla Cake, it was instant chemistry. What strikes me, however, is the fact that Antoinette’s cakes tell a story that is quite unique. When she makes her signature cake, the taste buds are awake to other ingredients that accentuate the Vanilla flavor. And when you think she is a one-hit wonder, she wows you with other varieties such as the Orange cake, Chocolate Cake with butter cream and not to forget her fruity Rum Cakes.
Every detail in her cakes is not accidental. It serves a purpose, trust me! In my opinion, and without prejudice, Antoinette’s passion for making cakes is refreshing and a deliciously rewarding experience…Falling in love is a beautiful thing, but falling in love with Antoinette’s cakes leaves you with a feeling of utter bliss!!!”
Dr. Ben O’Lee, Maryland, USA
Thank you Carmel, Svetlana, Uchechi and Ben for your testimonials.