This is another recipe sponsored by the chaps at Just
Ingredients, using some of their delicious products. I had the idea of
combining the lovely warm wintery flavours of cinnamon and vanilla with
chocolate buttercream to make a fragrant spongecake that’s perfect for tea on a
cold January afternoon, and I think it turned out pretty darn delicious.
About 180g of granulated sugar
About 180g of self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder, mixed together
until it tastes good!
Start by weighing the eggs, in their shells, all
together. You’ll use the same amount of margarine, granulated sugar and
self-raising flour. Doing this, instead of using a standard amount, means that
the sponge will turn out perfectly moist and light, whatever size the eggs are.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the margarine,
beating with a wooden spoon (or an electric mixer) until smooth. Add the
granulated sugar and beat again, then repeat with the flour and bicarbonate of
Next, use a sharp knife to open the vanilla pod
lengthways. Scrape the fine black seeds out with the point of the knife and pop
into the mixing bowl, with a teaspoonful of cinnamon, and mix again until the
little dark specks of the vanilla are evenly spread throughout the mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C (180˚C fan). In the meantime,
place your sponge tins on a sheet of baking parchment and trace round them with
a pencil. Cut out two circles. Use a leftover corner of the baking parchment
and a bit of margarine to grease the tins, and then pop the circles of paper
into the bottom of the tins and press down so that they stick to the margarine.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins and spread out roughly with
a wooden spoon (the mixture will spread itself out as it cooks, so don’t worry
about getting it perfect). Once the oven is up to temperature, pop the tins
inside and set a timer for 20 minutes.
Once the time is up, test the cakes with a fork – the tines
should come out completely clean. If they don’t, put the cakes back in for a
couple of minutes. When you’re confident that they’re cooked in the middle, remove
from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning the cakes out
onto a cooling rack.
Leave the cakes to cool completely before you even think
about making the buttercream. If you get too impatient, the buttercream will
melt when you put it on and you’ll get a big mess! When you’re ready, start
preparing the buttercream by popping a couple of big spoonfuls of margarine
into a bowl and adding a generous amount of icing sugar and about half a
tablespoon of cocoa powder. I’m afraid I can’t get much more specific as I’ve
always done this bit by trial and error! You’ll have your own preferences as to
how sweet the buttercream is so just keep adding icing sugar & having a
taste until it’s right.
Top one of the cakes with half of the buttercream, then
lay the second sponge on top and cover with the rest. The decoration is
optional, of course, but for the finishing touch, pop a cinnamon stick on the
top and sprinkle with a little more ground cinnamon. Serve with a nice hot
cuppa on a chilly day.