Last weekend was my 21st birthday party. The theme: black and white with a splash of bright. Being a sweet-toothed girl, my focus was on the puddings.
I made two batches of cake and did three colours (South African spelling) in each batch. A good gel food colouring gives a nice bright colour.
For 1 batch:
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
180g unsalted butter, at room temp. (I only had salted butter, and it worked fine)
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 180C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper or grease and dust with flour.
Sift flour, baking powder and bicarb together. Set aside.
Beat butter and add castor sugar gradually. Keep beating until mixture is very light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Add vanilla essence and beat again until light and fluffy.
Reduce mixure speed to low and add sifted flour mixture alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour. Mix until almost smooth, you will still mix a bit when you add food colouring.
Divide the mixture between three bowls and add a few drops of food colouring to each. Mix as little as possible to get the colour evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. (If making a second batch make the next batch while these ones are baking.)
Crystal white icing:
1 cup castor sugar
2 egg whites
Dissolve sugar in water over low heat, then bring to boil and leave uncovered for 3 minutes (mine took much longer), until syrup is slightly thick and makes a soft ball (drop some syrup into a cup with cold water and then try form a soft ball with your fingers. If you can’t form any ball it hasn’t boiled enough.) Do not let syrup colour.
Remove from heat and allow bubbles to subside.
Beat egg whites to soft peak (Peaks just bending over when you lift the beaters out the mixture).
Add sugar mixture to egg whites while beating and beat until thick and cool (a few minutes).
Ice cake soon, otherwise the icing will set too much ice nicely.