Simple cake recipe with variations

Every once in a while I bake a cake, and its almost always a variation of a simple cake recipe that’s very easy to remember.

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 270g plain flour (’00’ in Italy)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2dl milk
  • optionally 1dl of cooking oil (sesame seed or maize)

Procedure

  • Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture is creamy and airy. The creamier the mixture, the lighter the cake. Adding a third egg will make the cake fluffier.
  • Mix in the flour and the baking powder by hand. It doesn’t have to be worked a lot, just mixed in. The mixture will become almost solid.
  • Add the milk (and optionally the cooking oil) and mix again until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter in a buttered cake mould and bake 15-20 minutes at 170ºC. Use a toothpick to check if completely baked at the centre. If not, add a few more minutes.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it rest a few minutes before taking it out of the mold. Leave to cool on a grill.

I have a ventilated combi-oven so I do 12 minutes at 170ºC plus 350W microwave.

Adding cooking oil to the batter makes the cake more moist. Leaving it out makes the cake drier.

Chocolate cake

There are several easy chocolate variations, that each makes for a different cake.

  • Take a bar of bitter chocolate, put it in the freezer a day before, then grate it and mix the grated chocolate in the batter at the end; or
  • Add a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa powder to the batter with the flour; or
  • Melt a bar of bitter chocolate in the milk, either in a pot or in the microwave, before adding the milk to the mixture. Be careful not to let the milk boil, as that changes the flavour.

Chocolate and orange zest go well together. If you can find pesticide-free oranges, grate some of the zest into the batter.

You can add 75-100g of walnuts or hazelnuts, cut into small pieces or chopped in a blender.

Lemon cake

Add some grated lemon zest to the batter, and a bit of lemon juice.

After the cake is done, make a glazing with 100g glazing sugar and the juice of a lemon, heated lightly in the microwave to melt the sugar. Pour the glazing over the hot cake and let it cool.

Cinnamon cake

Add a few spoonfuls of cinnamon along with the flour when making the batter.

Mix a bit of caster sugar with cinnamon and dust it over the cake before it goes into the oven.

Apple cake

Before you start on the batter, peel and clean one or two apples and cut them into pieces or slices. Leave them in water with a bit of lemon juice so they don’t go brown.

When the batter is ready, strain the apple pieces, optionally mix them with cinnamon and sugar, and either add them to the batter, or put them on top after the batter is poured in the cake mold.

Cooking time will be longer, up to 40-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces of apple.


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