Cake baking tips
It's a bit genteel when a recipe calls for you to cream your butter and sugar together, if Jane Austin had written a cookbook that’s how she would have done it. Actually when it comes to mixing sugar with butter you need to be beating the living daylights out of it. The butter is ready when it's almost white, if you think it's white enough try beating it for a minute or two more.
If you’re using a mixer you will need to stop mixing and scrape around the mixing bowl as butter loves to stick to the sides where your paddles can’t quite reach. Do this a couple of times when you are beating the butter and sugar and again when you add the egg.
When it comes to adding the eggs there are 2 golden rules. Firstly add the beaten egg in a little at a time, a tablespoon is a good measure. Secondly make sure each addition of egg is fully mixed into the butter and sugar before adding the next amount. Just like the butter and sugar you can give this a good beating.
The flour is a different matter completely. Sieve your flour - it might seem like an easy corner to cut but don’t be tempted. The more you sieve the better it will be - 2-5 times is best. Once you start adding your flour to the batter, that’s the time to be genteel. Quickly mix a ¼ of the flour in to the eggs to stabilise them, then gently fold the rest of the flour in. You need to mix the batter as little as possible and that’s where the extra sieving comes in. The more you have sieved the flour in advance, the easier it will be to mix in.