Some of you may have seen a post that went up last week: Five Minutes In The Pharmacy. A few days before, I’d had to get the morning after pill, and well, ended up writing about it. At one point, I mentioned: “That thought was then followed by, well, it was followed by a few good fucks.” In the comments, marthamydear made the excellent, excellent observation: “AS IT WAS PRECEDED BY THEM HURR DURR.” A few HURR DURRs later, QoB introduced me to the song I Just Had Sex.
Apart from the fact that the song’s title lyrics were, well, wonderful, the song also featured congratulatory sex cake. This is an idea I could get on board with. Oh yes, yes, yes. It is possibly worth suggesting that for those who haven’t read Caregiving: Sex And Intimacy, sex and intimacy are a Big Deal. And well, most deserving of celebration, I think. And so, I put my mind to cake which celebrates sex. I mean, what would you bake?
Well, I had a couple of ideas – ideas that I hoped would encompass just how wonderful the event was that was to be celebrated. (All right, I’ll admit, this may turn into a case of “spot the innuendo.”) The first cake is one I consider quite simple, but at the same time, a classic. A vanilla sponge with a buttercream filling and icing. I shall say nothing about the presence of vanilla in this recipe, nor the consistency and colour of the buttercream or the icing on top. The second cake is a little more complex. A mix of flavours, a suggestion that it shouldn’t work, but an experience in and of itself, which is often one to return to.
- 4oz margarine (or butter)
- 40z caster sugar (also called “baker’s sugar”)
- 2 medium sized eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 40z self-raising flour
- 4oz icing sugar
- 1 or 2 teaspoons of water
- 2oz (soft) margarine or butter
Putting it altogether:
- Pre-heat the oven. I tend to go for 170 °C (338°F). I don’t know why, but I find cakes do better when they’re done on a lower heat and cooked for longer. Also, I use a 7″ tin.
- Mix (I can’t bring myself to say “creaming”) together the margarine and sugar.
- Beat the eggs into the mix. I have a lot of love for my balloon whisk, the things it can do to a mix are amazing. Also, electric mixers are beautiful creations; however, there is a lot to be said for the satisfaction I get from a good whisking, too.
- Add the vanilla extract and whisk a little more.
- Now, the controversial part: the flour. Many recipes call for flour to be gently folded into the mix. I whisk the flour in, and find that I get really light, lovely cakes a result.
- All right, another addition, which I didn’t put in with the other ingredients. I often add a tablespoon of juice to the mix. It’s not part of a traditional sponge recipe, but again, it’s something I’ve found does lovely things to mixes. Also? A tablespoon of lemon curd added to the mix is, um, well, wonderful. Seriously. But the two additions of juice and lemon curd are absolutely and entirely optional. A lovely cake will still be had without them.
- Pour the completed mix into your tin(s). When it comes to tins, I use tin liners. They are the greatest things ever for baking. They mean that cakes no longer get stuck to tins and they don’t require the precision of cutting baking parchment into a circle and then trying to get the edge… and well, they’re brilliant. I tend to be able to get 50 cake tin liners for £5, which is a price I am more than happy to pay.
- Now, to the oven. We do have a fan oven, so that will play into the lower temperature I use. The cooking time will depend on whether one cake is being baked (and later sliced in half for the filling) or two. My suggestions are these: for the mix split between two tins, 25 minutes; for the mix in one tin, 40 minutes and then keep checking. I’m ruthless when it comes to baking and will happily introduce my cakes to my selection of kitchen knives. A knife-mark in the cake is worth the knowledge that it’s thoroughly cooked.
- Right, assuming the cake/cakes are cooked, let them cool. There are lots of ways to do this, but cooling racks tend to have the edge. I survived with trivets to aid cake cooling until my grandmother gave me her cooling racks.
- Once they’re cool, it’s time to do the filling. Buttercream is meant to be just butter and icing sugar mixed together. This is a lovely aim. It will, however, mean – in my experience – you end up in the shower trying to get icing sugar out of your hair; it is not a substance fond of being mixed. So my method is to add a little water to the icing sugar until a paste is made, and then to mix in the butter. It can take a little while, but the result is so worth it. Again, a little addition of lemon curd here can be wonderful.
- Now to put the buttercream in between the layers of the cake. Use as much or as little as you like. I did once make a cake that had near enough an inch of buttercream in the middle – no one complained.
- Now for the icing. The icing I’m talking about here is the ready-to-roll type, though if that’s not available, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional sugar-and-water icing poured over the cake. When it comes to the ready-to-roll, my suggestion is to rock-and-roll. Just have fun.
- Now, enjoy.
Note: This is my adaption of a Green & Black’s recipe. Pick up their recipes books. They have recipes for every mealtime, and every recipe includes chocolate.
- 6oz margarine (or butter)
- 6oz dark muscovado sugar (or ordinary brown sugar)
- 3 eggs
- shoogle of dried ginger (basically, however much or little you want)
- 2 tablespoons juice or lemon and ginger tea
- 1/3 cup Golden Syrup (or other syrup)
- grated zest of an orange
- 6oz self-raising flour
- 2oz cocoa powder
- 100 grams chocolate (or however much makes it from the packet to the pan)
- a few tablespoons of cream
Putting it all together:
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°c (338°F). And again, I’m using a 7″ tin here.
- Mix together the margarine and sugar.
- Add the eggs, ginger (try not to let any child in the vicinity add the ginger or you may end up with half a jar in the mix), juice (or tea), syrup and orange zest. It will look a little funky, but after a minute or two with a balloon whisk, it will come together and look super.
- Add the flour and cocoa powder, and whisk. Again, I find whisking to be good for cakes. I know it goes against many recipes, but again, it’s what has time and again produced beautiful cakes for me.
- Pour mix into cake tin. Again, cake tin liners are wonderful, but if they’re not available, ordinary baking parchment will work, too.
- Into the oven for an hour, and then check with a knife. If not completely cooked, back in the oven and check every 15 minutes or so until thoroughly cooked.
- Once cooked, allow the cake to cool.
- Once cooled, it’s time to do the ganache. This is so, so simple. Put a little water in a pan and heat until there’s steam. Put a bowl on top of the pan and add the chocolate and cream. Go for a tablespoon of cream and then add another one or two depending on how much chocolate made it to the bowl. (Also? Adding more grated orange zest here can be super scrumptious, too.) Allow these to get gloopy and mix together. Once the chocolate and cream are completely mixed together, take the bowl off the pan. Let it cool for a minute or two, but continue to stir. Once that little bit cooler, pour the ganache over the cake. It’ll probably get a little messy, but it’s worth it. Smooth the ganache over the cake with a knife and after a few minutes, it should even out to cover most of the cake.
- Once covered in ganache, it’s time to let the cake cool. More often than not, I put the cake in the fridge to cool. This helps the ganache to set and also keeps it out of the way of a certain five-year-old.
- Once the ganache is set (or before it’s set, indeed), it’s time to enjoy.
So there you have it Persephoneers. Two cakes to celebrate sex. And, in a move that has shocked the universe to its core, there was very, very good reason for baking two cakes. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to have my cake and eat it.
N.B. I don’t sift flour. Just can’t bring myself to do it.