A college friend of mine, Mrs E, recently tasked me with seeking out a cake that could be made without butter or margarine as her son has a dairy intolerance and she was a little sad that he had to miss out every time there's home-made cake in the house. I must confess that I have been putting off my research somewhat as I'm not really a fan of 'fat-free' cakes, it's a contradiction in terms as far as I'm concerned and we have a mantra in our house 'fat equals flavour'.
Anyway, with all Buster's birthday cake finally consumed and no more cake on the horizon until Mrs B comes for Friday afternoon tea I decided to whip one up, the recipe to which I found in a fat-free dessert cook-book we inexplicably own.
When I say whip one up, I'm not joking. The recipe calls for the eggs and caster sugar to be whipped to within an inch of its life and next time I make it it will be in my Kenwood mixer instead of my handheld electric whisk (don't even attempt this cake with a manual whisk, the eggs would go off before you get them to the correct consistency!).
I don't usually go through the drudge of typing out recipes but as this one is especially for Mrs E I'll pass on the love
Master E's Cake
115g/4oz caster sugar
76g/3oz plain flour
A little oil to grease the tin
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5
Grease and line a 23cm/9inch sandwich tin
Place the eggs and caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick (when whisk is lifted, a trail should remain on the surface of the mixture for at least 15 seconds)
Sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 25-30 mins or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed
Run a palette knife between the cake and tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool
With the lack of butter I was expecting this cake to be more like a dry biscuit and it didn't look as well-risen as a conventional sponge but I was surprised at how light it was yet dense enough for me to slice horizontally in order to fill without crumbling.
I sprinkled a little caster sugar on top and served myself a generous taste-test slice with a cuppa. My mantra of fat equals flavour was ringing in my ears but it turns out that's not always the case, the cake was very tasty, it reminded me very much of Boudoir Biscuits in both flavour and lightness.
I flavoured mine with a dash of vanilla extract and filled it with strawberry jam but I think you could make a chocolate, lemon or coffee variety without too much trouble. Not sure how the recipe would fare if it were made into cupcakes but I'm sure I'll get round to trying it out.
Hope Mrs E's wee man likes it too and that he won't now feel left out when everyone else is enjoying cake. Maybe Marie Antoinette was misunderstood and was in fact campaigning for the French to be inclusive of the dairy intolerant community when she said 'let them eat cake' - cake should be for everyone!