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(post, Despo Georgiou)
Whether you bake cakes at home, or buy them from your nearest bakery, the fact remains that a good cake is important to most of us and none of our celebrations and milestones would be complete without cutting and sharing it with our loved ones. While a lot of you would agree that cakes bring people together, there are also several who haven't baked a cake by themselves yet, whatever the reason may be. Don't get me wrong, buying a readymade cake is perfectly okay, but this is a dish that one must try and whip up on their own at least once in their life. It is an experience which can put you on a rollercoaster of emotions - suspense, fear, thrill, drama, and ultimately, happiness. So maybe a day will come when you'll be relaxing at home, feeling like tucking into a blissful slice of cake, and itching for it step into your favorite cake bakery in Raleigh, NC. But it wouldn't hurt to know that a lovely cake can be baked right at your home. Read on for cake recipes that anyone can easily bake at home and gloat about. 1. The Basic Sponge Cake Serves: 8 Total Time to Cook: 45 minutes Ingredients: • 1 cup self-raising flour • 1 cup butter, at room temperature • 1 cup caster sugar • 4 eggs • 1 teaspoon baking powder Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer Grease or line a baking tin with parchment paper. Pour the prepared mixture into it. Place the baking tin in the oven for about 20 minutes, or till the top surface of the cake turns golden-brown. To check whether it is done or not, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes, out clean, it's done. (This applies to all cake recipes) Remove from oven and let it stay for about 5 minutes. Remove from the baking tin and place on a wire rack for it to cool down completely. Serve. 2. Almond Cake Serves: 10 Total Time to Cook: 50 minutes Ingredients: • 1¾ cups almonds, blanched • 1¼ cups caster sugar • 6 eggs, yolks and whites separated • Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon • 4 drops almond extract • Confectioners' sugar Method: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Finely grind the blanched almonds. Keep aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar. Follow it up by beating in the zest and the almond extract. Next, add the ground almonds and mix well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks start to form. Fold them into the egg-almond mixture and stir. Grease or line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pour the prepared batter into it and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Remove from the baking tray and place on a wire rack for it to cool down completely. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar just before serving. 3. Spiced Carrot Cake Serves: 8 Total Time to Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes Ingredients: • ½ cup vegetable oil • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 1 cup carrots, finely shredded • ½ cup granulated sugar • 1/3cuplow-fat plain yogurt • 2 eggs • 1/3 cup brown sugar • 1 teaspoon baking soda • ½ teaspoon cardamom/1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground • ¼ teaspoon salt Confectioners' sugar Method: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a mixing bowl (A), whisk flour, baking soda, cardamom/cinnamon, and salt. Keep aside. In another bowl (B), whisk eggs (always one by one), sugars, yogurt, and oil until a smooth mixture forms. Gently fold in the mixture in bowl B into bowl A. Add the carrots and mix well. Grease or line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pour the prepared batter into it and bake for about 40 - 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Turn the cake out of the tray and let it cool down completely on a rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. 4. Coconut Cake Serves: 16 Total Time to Cook: 1 hour + chilling Ingredients: • 2¼ cups cake flour • 2 cups sugar • 2 cups coconut flakes • 1 cup buttermilk • 5 eggs, yolks and whites separated • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened • ½ cup canola oil • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1 teaspoon coconut extract • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract • ¼ teaspoon almond extract • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar • ¼ teaspoon salt For the Frosting: • 1¾ cups cream cheese, softened • 2/3 cup butter, softened • 4 cups confectioners' sugar • 1¼ teaspoons coconut extract • 2 cups coconut flakes, toasted Method: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl (A) and keep aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. In another large mixing bowl (B), beat sugar, butter and oil until they blend together. Beat in the yolks (one at a time) and the extracts. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and add to bowl B. Add the buttermilk and beat well. Stir in the coconut flakes. Add the cream of tartar to bowl A and beat on medium until stiff peaks start to form. Fold in this mixture into bowl B little-by-little. Grease or line a baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the prepared batter into it and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes before removing it on a wire rack to cool completely. Slice the cake horizontally into two equal halves. Keep aside. For the Frosting: Beat together the cream cheese and the butter in a bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut extract. Beat again until smooth. Place the bottom layer of the prepared cake on a serving plate. Spread ½ cup of the frosting on it and sprinkle 1/3 cup coconut flakes over it. Top with the remaining layer of cake. Spread the remaining frosting on top and all sides of the cake and sprinkle the remaining coconut flakes over and around it. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Conclusion Do try the above sweet treats at home and let me know about them in your comments.