When someone asks me how I like my cake, I often reply, “Soft but not soggy, firm but not dry.” Walking past the quizzical looks, I try to make my point by showing a packet of a fruitcake bought off a supermarket shelf. These small pieces are filled with sugar, unrefined flour, preservatives and are hard enough to knock a person out cold should they try to steal from your trolley.
Recently, I have tried hard to learn and polish my pancake skills. I saw a fantastic recipe online and just wanted to try it out. The pancakes were a unanimous success in the dining room and overjoyed, I decided to push the recipe a little further. Thus, the fluffy ‘Pancake cake’ was born!
Ingredients for a pound cake:
Two cups of all-purpose flour (1 cup = 250 ml)
A cup of icing sugar
Two tablespoons of baking powder
Half a teaspoon of baking soda
Half a teaspoon of salt
A cup and a half of whole milk, plus a little extra to loosen the batter
A fourth of a cup of melted butter
2 eggs, the yolk separated from the whites
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence/extract
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a bowl.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites, and add the yolks, milk, melted butter into another bowl and stir to combine. Add them to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft pale batter.
Add a little more milk if the batter is too thick. It should just drop from the spatula when you hold it up. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Beat the egg whites with an electric beater or a whisk till soft peaks are formed. Gently fold it into the batter. Do not whisk or beat the egg whites in.
Transfer the batter to a large greased baking tin. Make sure to use a big one since the cake will rise quite a bit. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
To brown the top, set your oven to the highest setting and set the cake on the uppermost shelf. Bake for about 3 minutes or until you get the colour you prefer. I like mine quite brown so as to contrast the golden sponge underneath when I cut the cake.
Serve the cake warm with some tea or coffee. Garnish with fresh berries or whipped cream with a little lemon zest.
Tips to make the cake even better:
- Always use eggs that are at room temperature. They help the cake rise better.
- If you are using vanilla pods, add them to the milk and warm it just a touch. Let it cool before adding the yolks.
- Make sure to use the same cup/same sized cup for all measurements.
- Check if your baking powder is old. It may prevent the cake from rising.
- For an eggless version, double the quantity of butter and add two bananas. Make sure the beat the bananas with a little milk before adding. (P.S. it will not rise as much without the egg whites).
That’s all for now! Happy cooking!