Let’s talk cake

Published 11:36 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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Linda: May and June are celebration months with graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and weddings. I think it would be fun to offer some recipes for special cakes. This will be a column that differs from our usual format. Lucy is the cake expert. I’m turning the column over to her to educate our readers about the cakes we’re featuring.

Lucy: Yes, I love to bake. I’m going to feature two cakes. I lived in England for several years so my first recipe will be for Queen Elizabeth’s favorite cake, British Chocolate Biscuit Cake. This was Prince William’s groom’s cake at his wedding. It’s actually a no-bake cake made from British Tea Biscuits and chocolate. I find the biscuits in a special international section at the grocery stores. The other cake recipe we will offer is for White Velvet Cake. It’s similar to Red Velvet without the food coloring and chocolate. It’s a historical, southern recipe dating back to reconstruction in the late 1860s. I was skeptical about this cake so I shared it with several neighbors. It has become a favorite with everyone asking me for the recipe.

I dug up a few interesting cake facts. The favorite cakes in America are Chocolate cake, Red Velvet cake, Carrot Cake, Vanilla Cake, and Cheesecake. Austrian Sacher Torte, dating back to 1852, is the most famous cake. Since these recipes are a little lengthy, let’s get right to them.

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Linda: Yes, and I can vouch for their tastiness. I’m not sure which one is my favorite. Also, I will remind our readers that I will be at The Landrum Farmer’s Market, although not every week, this summer selling cookies and our cookbook. Unfortunately, I’m never sure when I will be assigned a table.


British Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate biscuit cake was the late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite cake

Use 8-inch round cake pan 

Ingredients for the cake

8 ounces British tea biscuits (I used McVities Digestive Biscuits. Publix and Ingles carry these)

1 stick plus 2 Tbs butter at room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

6 ounces dark chocolate, melted (Use a quality chocolate)

Chocolate Topping

8 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Garnish, optional

Mini chocolate chips. You could also use chocolate sprinkles or chocolate curls.



Butter or spray your pan, then line with plastic wrap, with long ends. This will make it easier to invert after the cake chills. Break or chop your biscuits into pieces, a little bigger than the size of an almond. Set aside. Cream the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate until everything is completely combined. Fold in the chopped biscuits until they are evenly distributed.

Spread the mixture into your prepared pan. You want to make sure to fill all the nooks and crannies so there are no air pockets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Note: You could also leave it overnight. When the cake has chilled, run a spatula or other thin blunt knife along the edge to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert onto a rack that is set over a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the plastic. Pour the melted chocolate over the top and sides of the cake, using a spatula to smooth it out. Add your garnish, if using, while the chocolate is still wet. Allow the topping to set at cool room temperature before slicing. The cake can be stored at room temperature, but for overnight I would refrigerate it. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes for easier slicing.


White Velvet Cake

A cousin of Red Velvet Cake, white velvet cake is a tender buttermilk cake with a fine crumb and a moist but not dense texture. 



3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon King Arthur Lemon Juice Powder*

12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature; cut into 1” pieces

5 large egg whites, at room temperature*

1 1/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature. Use full-fat buttermilk, not skim, available at Publix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

*Substitute 1 tablespoon (14g) freshly squeezed lemon juice for the lemon juice powder, if desired. 



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ round pans that are at least 2″ deep, and line them with parchment or silicone liners; grease the parchment or liners.

To make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon juice powder. 

Use beater to mix the butter into the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until the mixture is like coarse sand, 1 to 2 minutes. 

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Stir in the buttermilk, oil, extracts, and vinegar. 

With the mixer running, gradually add the liquid ingredients to the butter/flour mixture. Once all the liquid has been added, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat the batter for 2 minutes at medium speed; scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl again and mix briefly to incorporate any sticky residue, if necessary. 

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. 

To bake the cakes

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center should come out clean, or with only a few crumbs clinging.

Remove the cakes from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen their edges with a small spatula or a dull knife. After another 5 minutes, turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.  

Fill and frost the white velvet cake layers with Cream Cheese Frosting or the frosting of your choice. 

Storage information: Store the unfrosted white velvet cake layers, well covered, for up to 3 days at room temperature. Depending on which frosting you use, store the cake at room temperature or securely wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  


Tips: Don’t want to separate 5 large eggs and be left with the yolks? Substitute packaged refrigerated egg whites, found near the eggs in your supermarket’s dairy section.