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Buttermilk Wedding Cake

Asked by dulwichhappymummy. Answered on 5th May 2017

Full question

Hi. I love the Buttermilk Birthday Cake and bake it often. A friend has asked for a naked wedding cake and I'd like to use this recipe. But the cake always shrinks in at the sides about 2/3 up. That normally doesn't matter, but for a naked cake I need completely flat sides. Can I adjust the recipe or can you recommend another sponge recipe that's moist and strong and will not shrink? Thank you!

Buttermilk Birthday Cake
By Nigella
  • 14
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Our answer

Nigella's Buttermilk Birthday Cake (from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS) is a popular sponge cake and, like many soft sponge cakes, the cake will start to shrink away slightly from the sides of the tin once it is baked. For a naked cake with very smooth sides you need to bake the cake as one large cake, which you then cut into layers, rather than baking the individual layers. The Buttermilk Birthday Sponge is for a 23cm/9-inch square cake (4cm/1 3/4 inches deep), so you could bake the cake in a 25cm/10-inch springform tin (as it has deeper sides) and it would probably take between 50 minutes and 1 hour to bake. Wrapping special baking strips around the outside of the tin will give a more even rise and reduce the shrinking from the sides slightly, though there is still a chance that the very top edge will shrink away from the tin.

You will get slightly straighter edges from a denser madeira-type cake and this may also be slightly easier to cut into layers. It is not as moist and springy as a soft sponge cake, but it does keep well and you can brush each layer with some sugar syrup if you feel you need to add more moisture. Nigella's My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake is baked in a large loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches) and the batter should be sufficient for a 20cm/8-inch springform tin, though the cake will rise to the top of the tin so you may prefer to use a 23cm/9-inch springform tin. The baking time at 170c/325F should be about 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours. However as we have not tried the madeira cake in a round tin we are unable to guarantee the results. If the cake is for a special occasion we would always recommend baking a test version first. The madeira cake freezes well if it has not been iced.

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