This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
This week, as part of our birthday celebrations, I thought the cake in question should be, rather fittingly, a birthday cake. A simple but tasty birthday cake, which says not just thank you to Kirsty and Novelicious for enhancing our fiction reading pleasure. (And I think you might agree this calls for a massive THANK YOU). But additionally, it's something of a thank you to all authors out there who have provided a fabulous wealth of material for us to write about and, in my case, to recreate aspects of said novels in my own cake-bakery-kind-of-way as a (hopefully) fitting tribute. It has been a delicious pleasure.
Finding food mentioned in a novel is always an absolute joy. (Though I may make an exception for this book). One of my most favourite authors, J.K. Rowling, once said that the author Elizabeth Goudge “always described exactly what the children were eating, and I really liked knowing what they had in their sandwiches”. I, too, love to know what's in their sandwiches, what type of coffee they're drinking, what flavour cake they are eating. Mention a biscuit and I need to know whether it is chocolate chip or a plain digestive. Adding that extra detail is exciting and immediately means you can taste it, too. You know just what flavours that character is feasting on at that point in the novel.
So thank you. Thank you to Freya North, to Marian Keyes, Carole Matthews, J.K. Rowling, Lisa Jewell, Jojo Moyes, Adele Parks, Jennifer Weiner, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen, Judy Blume, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Kate Harrison, Lucy Diamond, Sophie Kinsella, Jo Rees, Kirsty Greenwood and many, many more – oh so many – wonderful authors, for adding that extra flavoursome layer to the story and allowing us, the reader, to be right there in the novel with the characters.
Have a slice of cake, why don't you?
Happy Birthday, Novelicious!
To Make One Very Simple Birthday Cake
Electric whisk, 2 20cm sandwich cake tins – greased.
For the cake
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
Food colouring paste (optional)
For the buttercream
300g icing sugar
splash of milk
For the sponge cake
- Heat oven to 180c or 160c fan.
- Cream the sugar with the butter in a bowl with an electric mixer or wooden spoon. Give it a good mix.
- Stir in the eggs and a spoonful of the flour.
- Add the rest of the flour and vanilla until you have the cake batter. Add the food colouring and mix well.
- If it gets too stiff, add a splash of milk.
- Fill each sandwich tin with half the mixture in each. Spread lightly to the edges.
- Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
- They will be done when you prod gently with your finger and the sponge springs back.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack if you have one.
For the buttercream
- Make sure the butter is nice and soft.
- Mix the butter and icing sugar with a splash of milk and flavouring if using, ideally with an electric mix, until well combined and smooth.
- When the cake has cooled, spread a couple of spoonfuls on one layer.
- Place the other layer on top and coat all over.
- Decorate as you wish.
- Serve whilst singing Happy Birthday…