Easy does it

PATRICIA SOPER
Last updated 14:10 18/02/2014
Southland Times photo
Large, moist and perfect for those trifles or lamingtons. Split and filled for a celebration, this is a large, no-fuss cake with all the pluses.

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I discovered the joy of the all-in-together cake in Margaret Fulton's cookery course book, which, I might add, came my way via my neighbour's relocation to Australia.

Over time I have cooked my way through the contents of this invaluable resource and in the process improved my techniques no end.

Today's recipe is one that no cook should be without. Its versatility is truly amazing; the more you use it, the more you see its possibilities.

As the festive season approaches I make this cake as a base for a Christmas trifle. The texture is slightly heavier than a conventional sponge, but lighter than a butter cake. The mixture can be cooked in one large tin or two 25cm tins, or made into cupcakes or lamingtons.

Vary the flour by replacing some of the flour with cocoa powder for a chocolate cake or dissolve coffee powder in a little hot water for a coffee version.

If you have never been tempted to make a sponge before, be assured the method is straightforward and unfussy - no separating eggs or folding in stiffly beaten egg whites.

The only essential is an electric cake beater, either hand-held or freestanding, and a large tin. I use a roasting tin bought from a supermarket for a few dollars that measures 32cm x 23cm.

EASY-MIX SPONGE

2 cups flour

11/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

130g melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp lemon essence

zest of 1 lemon

4 tsp baking powder

Filling

300ml cream for whipping

1 1/2 cups jam or lemon curd

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Line and spray a tin with baking paper.

Put flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, essences and zest in mixing bowl.

Beat for about 4 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add the baking powder and beat until incorporated.

Pour mixture into prepared tin.

Bake centre-oven for about 25 minutes.

The cake will shrink from the sides when cooked and the centre should be firm to the touch.

Turn out on to a cooling rack.

When cool, split and spread cake with jam or lemon curd and whipped cream.

Cook's note

Dice and freeze cake for later use in trifle, or cut into squares for lamingtons: makes about 24.

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