For many years it has been my mission to spread this recipe to as many people as possible. It began life in a humble school fund-raising cookbook as an apple cake. My clever Nan soon adapted it to a chocolate cake. I shared the recipe with my friends, who started coming back saying "I made this with pear instead" or "I tried this with orange and rosewater." As it's fan base has grown, so has the list of variations.
The recipe below is for a ring-shaped cake, but I also make it as cupcakes, as a flat dessert cake in a quiche dish, and double it for a large birthday cake. Several variations are delicious served as a hot dessert with cream or custard. It be transformed into healthy-ish lunchbox treats by substituting wholemeal flour and adding a stack of fruit. You can add extra liquids or extra dry ingredients and somehow it always seems to work. And you don't even need an electric mixer. Seriously, this recipe with change your life!
90g butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups self-raising flour
½ cup milk
1 teas vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
2. Grease and line cake tin
3. Melt butter in microwave in a large mixing bowl (approx. 1 minute)
4. Add all other ingredients, plus desired colours or flavours
5. Beat with a wooden spoon until well combined.
6. Pour mixture into cake tin.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through
· Chocolate Add ¼ cup of cocoa (or to taste). Top with chocolate icing or a sprinkle of icing sugar.
· Chocolate cardamom Add ¼ cup of cocoa, a small handful each of chocolate chips and chopped unsalted pistachios, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cooked. For a dessert cake, cook this in a quiche dish, and serve warm with whipped cream and liqueurs.
· Apple Pour cake mixture into lined tin. Core and slice an apple. Place slices on top of mixture, poke apple till it sinks, sprinkle with cinnamon. Delicious served hot with custard. Cinnamon and nutmeg can be added to the cake mixture if desired.
· Pear Line cake tin with baking paper. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and arranged sliced fresh pear in base (cored but not peeled). Add ½ - 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake mixture, and pour it over the pear. Delicious served warm with whipped cream, drizzled with maple syrup.
· Carrot cake Use brown sugar if preferred. Add 1 cup grated carrot, a handful of walnuts and/or sultanas, and cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
· Pineapple Upside Down Line tin with baking paper. Sprinkle base of pan with brown sugar and arrange pineapple and glace cherries (optional), pour mixture over. Fresh pineapple, chopped quite small, is particularly good. Delicious served warm with custard.