Last week I had a baking failure. In fact, I had two of them. I decided to add something to my repertoire so I tried a couple of new recipes. An apricot slice and some fruit biscuits. They were horrible. The slice was heavy and not sweet enough. The biscuits were doughy. Despite large amounts of butter and sugar, they just would not crisp up. Both recipes were from the same cookbook and it has left me wondering, ‘how well tested were the recipes’?
Never Doubt The Never Fail
I was cross about the amount of time I had spent and the quality of ingredients used, for very little return. It was the first time I had cooked out of this book and I’ve decided it was also the last. But, my baking disaster(s) left me with nothing to take to morning tea the next day. I flicked through a few books but in the end, went the path of least resistance and made the batter cake that I always make. It never fails.
I call it a batter cake because the mixture before it is baked is thick, rather than a pouring consistency. I call it ‘never fail’ because no matter how many times I have made it, no matter how many variations I’ve baked, it always turns our perfect. Perfect every time.
Good Old Donna Hay
It was my brother who first alerted me to a version of this recipe in Donna Hay’s ‘Off The Shelf’. It’s the Peach and Raspberry Cake. He had made it for a party and told me that it was very little effort for an impressive result. How right he was. Good old Donna Hay. She never lets me down. Her recipes are tried and true in my kitchen. She’s never given me a baking failure.
It is a very forgiving recipe. Since first making it, I have probably baked it upwards of two dozen times. It takes only a few minutes to put together and can be left to its own business in a low oven for an hour. Sometimes I make the batter cake with fresh fruit and at other times, when it’s late at night and I need to make something in a hurry, with frozen berries. I’ve also used sliced pears and hazelnuts on top. On one memorable occasion, I swirled in peanut butter and dotted the top with broken pieces of Snickers. The size of the eggs are neither here nor there. The icing sugar is optional. It’s very rustic but it won’t last long. What’s not to like about a buttery, sugary cake?
Never Fail Batter Cake
- 125g butter, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
- 150g blueberries or 150g raspberries
- 2 pieces of stone fruit such as peaches or nectarines, sliced into 12
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat an oven to 160c. Line a 22cm round, square or springform pan.
- Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and creamy with all sugar dissolved.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
- Fold in the self-raising flour until well combined.
- Drop batter into the cake tin and smooth down with a spoon (it can be quite stiff).
- Place slices of stone fruit (if using) on top of cake in decorative pattern. Fill gaps in batter with blueberries or raspberries.
- Dust icing sugar over top of cake and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour.
- Dust with extra icing sugar if desired. Remove from tin and serve warm with cream or, cool in tin for easy transporting.
Serves: 6 – 8
Thanks Donna. Thanks for nothing Annabel.
*Looking for Donna Hay’s original ‘Off The Shelf’ cookbook? Indeed any good cookbook? Check out Dymocks – an Australian family owned bookseller. This is an affiliate link – I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from any purchases made via the link.