Sunday, 28 October 2012

Batch Baking - Sandwich Cake Mix

Lets face it most of us like a bit of cake at some time or another and when you have children in the house it serves as double duty having a bit of cake in the house in the first instance as something to have as a treat after tea or as a treat in their pack up box.  Even in the OH's.  and some can be used to make a very quick pudding with a touch of ice cream or cream. Today however we seem to have more considerations as to when to actually put the big oven on because of making use of and getting the maximum amount of food cooked as cheaply as possible and to this end it helps if you plan what you are going to cook and make several items before you even switch the oven on.

 The house I live in is rented  - the cooker belongs to the house and is only a basic half sized  gas oven, but nevertheless I have managed to cook quite successfully ever since we have been in here (I am on my second cooker but the landlord chooses the cooker not me).  His choice of cooker and mine are radically different.  Saying that we have to be grateful for small mercies and make the best of what we have available to us.  It all serves a purpose in the greater plan of things. I will do a separate post on maximising the use of your oven probably to run alongside this post.

 Today I want to share a recipe that I have used on and off for about 34 years for making a Sandwich cake or variations on a sandwich cake.  The recipe is taken from the Marks and Spencers' book of Mixer and Blender Cooking by Betty Jakens ISBN 0 906320 22 4.  I apologise for the length of the post, but it will give you a good basis on how to use the mix and then hopefully go on and experiment.  I tend to use the mix and then quite frequently just decorate by adding cocoa, coffee, coconut, mixed  dried fruit, spices,  fresh fruit like blueberries, or jams, curds butter-cream to finish different food colourings, just make a couple of sponge cakes and a tray of butterfly cakes - the rest is up to you and your own inspiration and creativity.

Basic Sandwich Mix:

1lb/450g  butter or margarine
1lb/450g caster sugar
8 eggs
1lb/450g self-raising flour, sifted


Preparation time: about 45 minutes
Cooking time:
Lemon Cherry Sandwich about 25 minutes
Spiced Currant Squares about 30 minutes
Marble Ring: about 25 minutes
Coffee Walnut Castles: about 15 minutes
Oven temperature: 190 degrees C, 375 degrees F, Gas Mark 5

"As most domestic ovens are not large enough to bake all the sandwich cake variations at one time, start with the coffee walnut castles which have the shortest cooking time and bake the longest cooking time variation last.

To prepared the basic cake mix place the butter or margarine and sugar in the mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl .  Using the mixer (I used my Kenwood) beat the butter and the sugar for approximately 3 minutes (sugar and eggs will go from a creamy yellow colour to a very pale colour until light creamy and silky.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the mix in the bowl to make sure that everything gets mixed in properly and evenly distributed.  Add the eggs one at a time with a little flour beating each one until the mix is well incorporated.  If using a Kenwood table mixer put on lowest speed or fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon.

Use the mixture to make these:

Variation 1: Lemon Cherry Sandwich

1 1/4 lb/500g prepared basic cake mix
4oz/100g glace cherries rinsed dried and chopped (if you lightly flour the cherries it is supposed to stop them sinking)
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml spoon grated lemon rind
Lemon Butter Cream

Weight eh specified amount of prepared basic cake mix and place in a mixing bowl.  Reserve 2 to 3 whole cherries for decoration and chop the rest .  Fold the chipped cherries and lemon rind into the cake mix and divide between two greased sandwich tins and bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Turn out on a wire tray to cool.

Use half of the lemon butter cream to sandwich the cake layers together then spread the remaining butter cream on the top.  Decorate with the reserved glace cherries cut into pieces

*See right at the bottom for the lemon cream recipe

Variation 2: Spiced Currant Squares

14oz/400g of the prepared basic cake mix
2oz/50g currants
1oz/25g self raising flour
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml ground mixed spice
1oz/25g butter softened
3 1/2oz/90g soft brown sugar

Bottom line and grease a 7 inch square/18 cm square baking ting.  Weigh the specified amount of the pre-prepared cake mix and then fold in the currants.   Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Place the flour mixed spice and butter into a small mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to rub the butter into the flour or rub it in by hand.  Stir in the sugar sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake mix.  Bake in a pre-heated  oven for about 30 minutes.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing to a wire tray.  Leave to cool completely and then cut into 6 squares.

Variation 3: Marble Ring Cake

1lb 2oz/500g prepared basic cake mix
1 tablespoon/1 x 15ml spoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon/ 1 x 5ml spoon of milk
2oz /50g icing sugar sifted
2 teaspoons/ 2 x 5ml spoons of hot water
Chocolate vermicelli to decorate

Weigh the specified amount of prepared cake mix.  Divide the mixture into two bowls and place one half in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix in the cocoa followed by the milk.  You will end up with a bowl of chocolate mix and a bowl of vanilla mix.  Place alternate spoonfuls of chocolate  and vanilla mix into the prepared 2 pint/1.2 litre ring mould and carefully spread evenly.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire tray  Leave to cool.  Place the icing sugar into a small basin add the water and mix to a coating consistency.  Spoon the icing over the top of the ring and allow it to run down the sides.  Sprinkle with vermicelli before the icing sets.

Variation 4: Coffee Walnut Castles

12oz/350g prepared basic cake mix
Coffee Butter cream  See below
3oz/75g Walnut pieces chopped
8-10 walnut halves

Weigh the specified amount of prepared basic cake mix and divide into 8 to 10 well greased dariole moulds to fill them by two thirds.  Arrange the moulds on a baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. Turn out of the moulds and leave to cool on a wire tray.

Trim the bases so that all the castles stand up straight.  Spread the sides of the castles with about three quarters of the butter cream then coat the sides with the chopped walnuts.  Place the remaining cream into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe whirls of butter cream on top.  Place a walnut half on top of each castle.  Makes about 8 to 10.

Blender Lemon Frosting
2 tablespoons/2 x 15ml lemon squash
1 1/2 /40g butter or margarine softened
6oz/175g Icing sugar sifted

Pour the sqush into a blender goblet and add the butter or margarine and then the icing sugar. Blend until well mixed.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the goblet from time to time as necessary.  Use to decorate your chosen cake.


Coffee frosting use 2 tablespoons of coffee essence/2 x 15ml spoons instead of lemon squash

Orange frosting use 2 tablespoons of orange squash/2 x 15ml spoons instead of orange squash

The beauty of this batch recipe is that the cakes can be frozen (without the toppings as they come out of the oven) if there are too many for you to get through easily during the week and you can just take a cake out when you need it.  Batch baking or cooking basic things that you probably would not get time to deal with during the week helps you still get quality food  and variety even when up against time constraints.

I hope this helps 




  1. Hi Tricia
    Don't apologise for long recipe posts! ;o)
    Have you thought of getting a table top halogen cooker. I've had mine a couple of years now and it's used at least 4 nights a week, saving a fortune on using the 'normal' oven. I know they take up room on the work top, but they're easy to use and keep clean. I do admit however that I don't think they do cook any quicker, but they do use much less energy. I have one with the 'extension ring' so that I can cook larger items in it. Chicken and roast potatoes cooks to perfection. I still haven't tried baking a cake in it yet, but I will!
    Have a good week.
    Rose H

  2. What a lovely post I do have a fool proof sponge recipe but will try yours and see the difference the different varieties sound yummy.

  3. I think I found the right post? I'm going to try when I do Louise's biscuits x


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