Decorate this cake to suit any occasion, with fresh or frosted flowers, or other decorations.
makes 30 slices
3/4 pound sweet butter, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
3/4 pound golden superfine sugar
6 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten
3/4 pound self rising flour, sifted
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups All purpose flour, sifted
GLAZE AND FONDANT ICING
4 - 6 tbsp apricot glaze, or warm sieved spread
1 pound 2 ounce golden Confectioner’s sugar, plus extra to dust
1 medium egg white
2 tbsp liquid glucose, warmed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Grease a 9 inch square, 3 inch deep cake pan and line it with a double layer of baking parchment. Wrap a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin and secure with string (see page 459).
2. Cream the butter and sugar together, using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric whisk, for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. If the mixture looks like curdling, add 2 tbsp of the self rising flour with the last of the egg. Mix in the vanilla extract.
3. Add 1 tbsp water, the salt, plain and self rising flours, then fold everything together, using a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to the tin and spread evenly, smoothing it into the corners, then make a dip in the middle. Bake at 170°C (150°C fan oven) mark 3 for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake for 30 seconds comes out clean.
4. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Carefully peel off the lining paper and turn the cake again. If necessary, trim the top of the cake level. Brush the apricot glaze evenly over the top and leave to set.
5. To make the fondant icing, whiz the Confectioner’s sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds, then add the egg white, glucose and vanilla extract, and whiz for 2 - 3 minutes, until the mixture forms a ball.
6. Roll out the icing to a 25 cm (10 inch) square on a sheet of baking parchment dusted with Confectioner’s sugar. If it starts to stick, ease a palette knife underneath. With a ravioli cutter, cut out a 23cm (9 inch) square of icing, using the cake pan as a guide. Upturn the icing on to clean parchment and peel off the top paper.
7. Put the cake on the icing, glazed side down. Position a cake board on the cake and turn the cake the right way up. Remove the paper, then rub the icing gently with clean fingers to make it shine.
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