With a great big collective sigh, the school year has come to a close and we have said our fond goodbyes and Christmas good wishes to students and colleagues alike. On Friday we celebrated with Secret Santa gifts, lovely nibbles and Christmas cheer. We said farewells to our colleagues and friends who are moving on promotion to other schools and promoting themselves to well earned retirement.
As is our custom, everyone chipped in to deliver a lovely festive lunch. To help celebrate the promotion of two of our staff I made cakes in colours that celebrate their individual personalities. Orange for Megan: her favourite colour and a match for her radiant presence in the school. Pink for Tony: famous as his least favourite colour and thus the one we have always honoured him with. On his last day as Acting Principal, the entire staff dressed in pink in his honour. Two lovely people for whom their respective schools should count their blessings to receive.
I based my cakes on an old favourite chocolate sponge and topped it off with simple butter cream frosting.
Chocolate Sponge Cake
6 eggs - separated
300g caster sugar
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter
4 heaped teaspoons cocoa
6 tablespoons warm water
Turn the oven on to 180deg. C and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites until they form peaks. Add half the measure of sugar, a little at a time, and beat until the mixture holds firm peaks.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale, thick and creamy. Don't add the sugar to the yolks until your ready to beat of the sugar will form lumps with the yolks.
Heat the butter, cocoa and water in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth.
In a large bowl, fold the egg white and yolk mixtures together. Follow with the cocoa mix, and finally the twice sifted flour and baking powder. Try not to knock the air out of the mixture and don't over mix.
Gently transfer the mixture into the baking dish and smooth over the top.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when pressed in the middle.
Leave to cool in the tin. Once cold fill with jam and butter cream and top with either butter cream or normal icing.
If your eating it straight away it is lovely filled with fresh cream and seasonal fruit.
Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup icing
6 tablespoons warm
juice of 1 lemon
Put all the ingredients into the mixer and beat until light and fluffy. The mixture should not be curdled, but smooth, pale and creamy.
I left the frosting in the centre white and spread the top layer of the sponge with raspberry jam. As you can see I halved the original large cake to form two smaller ones.
For the finished cakes, I added natural red food colouring for the pink frosting and blended red and yellow for the orange frosting.
This cake eats equally well simply topped with sifted icing sugar.
Now with all the celebrations of the closing of school over for the year, its time to move on to all the many possibilities of Christmas foods!