Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Butterfly Cakes

It’s 1970-something and I’m standing at a large white formica-topped kitchen table, the sun is shining, it’s a hot summer’s day and birds are pecking at the bread crusts out on the lawn. The sound of wood pigeons is occasionally interrupted by the sound of an inter-city train on its journey towards Euston as it zooms through the cutting at the far end of the garden. I’m happy helping my Grandma with the baking for Sunday tea, before my parents take me back home, after a week’s stay with her and Grandad.

I learned quite a lot about baking from Grandma. The recipes were loosely based on ones from either the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, or the Be-Ro book and butterfly cakes were always fun to make. The results were sometimes a bit messy and maybe overdecorated once Grandma let me loose on the silver balls, sugar flowers and jelly diamonds, but they were no less delicious.

I stood at my Grandma’s side, us both wearing pinnys, and me mostly covered in flour and icing sugar. Grandma must have been awfully patient as I made a mess of her kitchen, being creative!
These are not your usual butterfly cakes as they have orange added – that was Grandma’s idea, much, I might add, to my Dad’s disapproval. He doesn’t like orange in cakes, but I think it’s rather nice.
I haven’t made these for years, probably not since I was a child, but I was suddenly inspired to honour my Grandma by making them once again, much to the delight of my husband. This time I have refrained from using ostentatious edible frippery and kept them simple.

For the cake mixture
4oz butter, softened
4oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
4oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest of half an orange

For the butter icing
5oz butter, softened
10oz icing sugar
grated zest of half an orange
1 tblspn orange juice, freshly squeezed

Preheat the oven to 220C / 400F / Gas 6.
Line a 12 hole cake pan with paper cases.

Place butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and keep beating until they’re all combined, then thoroughly mix in the grated orange zest.

Sift together the self raising flour and baking powder and gently fold into the butter and egg mixture, a little at a time.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, just over half way is good.
Place in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile make the butter icing. Place the butter into a bowl and beat until creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and and mix until smooth, along with the orange juice and zest. Set aside.

When the cakes are completely cool, using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the top of each cake and set aside.

Spoon a good dollop of butter icing on the top of each cake.
Then take each cake top and cut in half and push the two halves into the icing of each cake to form butterfly wings.

Lastly, dust the cakes with icing sugar.


Simply Life said...

wow, those look wonderful!

Lidia said...

They look good!!
Nice your blog, see you :)

Abby said...

Edible frippery. Ha! Cute. And the cupcakes are gorgeously simple! I love orange in cake, too.

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