Old-fashioned American cake

Old-fashioned American cake

By
From
The Italian Baker
Serves
12-14

I collect cookbooks. And those of you who do the same will probably know how much fun it is to search for antique publications, rare discoveries or lost books. Of course, baking is my passion, so my collection is well stocked… I unearthed this recipe for a buttery, yellow vanilla sponge topped with a quick, foolproof chocolate icing from a book dated 1850! I have brought it up to date just a little, and it’s a hit at my bakery and tea room. Try it, and save it in your recipe notebook... because you do have one, right?

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
115g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
280g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
250ml milk
1 vanilla pod
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
chocolate shavings, to decorate

For the icing

Quantity Ingredient
115g butter
80g good-quality cocoa powder
490g icing sugar, sifted
60ml milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter two 20-cm cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder and salt. Put the milk into a pan set over a medium heat. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, using the tip of a knife. Add the seeds to the milk, bring to a gentle simmer, then take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using electric hand-held beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Once incorporated, stir in the flour and warm milk alternately in three batches, starting and ending with the flour and using a spatula. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips using the spatula. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven before inverting on to a wire rack to cool.
  4. For the icing, melt the butter in a microwave or in a small pan set over a low heat. Put the melted butter and cocoa powder into the bowl of a stand mixer, or into a mixing bowl and using electric hand-held beaters, and beat on a low speed. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk alternately, in small additions. Depending on temperature and humidity, you might need to add more or less milk – you are looking for a spreadable buttercream consistency. If the icing is a little loose, refrigerate it for 15 minutes and stir before using.
  5. To assemble, place a cooled cake on a plate. Spread plenty of icing over and top with the second cake. Cover the entire cake with the remaining icing. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, topped with chocolate shavings.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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