Butter Cream Icing

This is one of the simplest ways to decorate a cake. Butter icing can be used to make a plain sponge cake more interesting or to elaborately decorate a novelty cake.

It is also a good way to hide any imperfections which can occur due to a cake being uneven or breaking up having ‘stuck’ to the tin.

In this post I have used butter cream to help me salvage a cake that became badly stuck in one of my new ‘non stick pans’. Having eventually released the cake, part of it had remained in the tin and instead of a nice neat top I had a rather uneven crumbly surface.

Using half butter to sifted icing sugar (for a 7/8″ cake 4 oz (114 grams) butter to 8 oz (227 grams) Icing sugar, beat the butter until soft and gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar. At this point you can add flavourings. As I had made a lime sponge, I used the grated rind of a lime to flavour my icing.

Choose the best of the two cakes to be the top and place the bottom one onto a board or plate and spread with a third of the icing. If you wish you can now add a layer of jam (seedless is best). Place the top sponge onto this and using small amounts of icing, ‘glue’ any loose pieces back into place. When this is done, spread half of the remainign icing onto the top, being careful not to lift crumbs off the surface. Small amounts of icing spread at a time is best. When this is done, spread the rest of the icing onto the cake. There is no need to try and smooth it.

Take a round bladed knife and starting from the centre, draw the knife through the icing to the edge of the cake in curves (see picture). Contine to do this all around the cake. When complete, slide the knife round the edge of the cake to tidy up any overhanging icing.

The iced cake can then be decorated in any way you wish. I used orange and lemon slices and coloured some granulated sugar with green food colouring and spinkled this in the centre of the cake.

Whilst this cake is far from perfect, it was perfectly alright for my family, who had no idea that it had started in pieces.

If making a chocolate cake, replace 1 oz (28 grams) icing sugar with cocoa powder – for a coffee cake, add 1 teaspoon granualted coffee (disolved in 1 teaspoon hot water).

Suggested decorations – Glace cherries look lovely on a chocolate cake and walnuts go well with a coffee cake.

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