The Australian Women’s Weekly, in the wisest of ways, tells readers at the start of the book that in each recipe it has chosen to specify the use of packet-mix cake over home made because “they’re easy to make and give a firm foundation for decorations on the birthday cake”. That’s awesome, and two thumbs up for encouraging even the least kitchen-oriented parent to give it a crack, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a box cake in my life. Also, it takes more effort for me to go to the shops and buy the cake than it does to use the stuff I already have in my pantry, so I’m rolling with their suggest Butter Cake alternative recipe instead. For those of you playing along, here it is:
- 125 g butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/3 cup milk
Have butter at room temperature, beat butter and vanilla until light and creamy, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the milk, stir until combined. Add remaining milk and flour, stir in lightly, then beat lightly until mixture is smooth. Spread into greased tin, bake as directed in individual recipes. Cooking times are the same as for packet butter cake mix.
So, if you’ve ever baked a cake, you’ll notice there’s a couple of things missing here. Firstly, temperature. For some reason that’s listed half a page over – once you find it, it tells you to use a ‘moderate oven’ (190-200 degrees for electric and 180 degrees for gas). I disagreed, and used 170 degrees in a fan-forced electric over. Each to their own – if you’re baking this recipe, you’ll know what ‘moderate’ is in your oven.
In terms of cooking times, this varies depending on the tin your using. AWW thoughtfully provides a table with cooking times, but beware – my 20 cm round tin, which they say should take 50 minutes, took a grand total of 25 minutes to bake.