I follow the award winning celebration cake baker Reshmi from Anges De Sucre on Instagram and a while ago she shared her recipe for a fool proof, quick and incredibly tasty cake. It's quite different (I've never used buttermilk before) and so I'm quite in awe of someone who can understand the chemistry of baking and actually create a recipe! (I think she's some sort of properly French trained patisserie chef.)
She gave away the normal version of the recipe in a blog post, and has since created a PDF version of it for anyone who wants to buy it. She also sells all sorts of variations such as vegan or gluten free on her website. I've just seen she's even got an egg free version. The design of the recipe is to be cost effective - so it doesn't involve butter and it uses granulated sugar instead of caster. It's also ALL weighed in grams (even the liquid) so that it's super easy to do.
I've seen that professionals have started using her recipe as it gives such great results, but I've been using it as a home baker and whilst my decorating skills aren't amazing, the cake inside always is! Well, I say always - once I made one which was very crumbly, and Reshmi said I'd either over baked it or over mixed it - I think it was over mixing so I've been wary of that since and have had great results again. (Reshmi is very responsive on Insta.) It's a very forgiving recipe though - I've seen people on Insta say they've changed various bits or not had enough of some ingredient and yet it still holds together!
Like I say, I've made various cakes from it - it's worked for everything from a hedgehog to a castle, from Peter Rabbit to Minecraft. And my friends (as I've shared this recipe far and wide) have successfully used it for cup cakes. My only tip (other than not to over mix it) would be to not put too much in a tin - don't try to make too deep a cake - unless you're prepared for it to cook for a long time.
Reshmi is also a major advocate for Swiss Meringue butter cream rather than normal butter cream... but whilst I bow down to her cake recipe, I'm afraid I'm not convinced by that move... it was too buttery for me, I prefer the sickly sweetness of all that icing sugar in regular butter cream!
Meanwhile, if baking really isn't your thing, Reshmi is also the founder of the Fake Bake movement (well, founder as far as I'm aware) where she dresses up a supermarket bought cake on a strict budget. I followed along live to her Easter Fake Bake in 2022 and she's got some pretty special ones on her grid!
A Mum on Instagram recently shared how she catered for a party of 15 kids for under £30.
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