ladybird, ladybird fly away home

I didn't think that I would be gone for so long. Our flying visit to Sacramento went well - thank you for your suggestions for things to do. Old Town Sacramento didn't seem to wake up until 11am, so we ended up spending the most time at the Capital building.
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If anyone was wondering about that little heat wave that hit Southern California a week or so back, that was because the electric company had switched our power off while they were installing a new pole. I was stuck at home with not even a fan to keep me cool, but at least that meant that I did not miss it when hundreds of these ladybirds (ladybugs) stopped by for a brief visit.
Then we were ill. Not the swine 'flu. My husband, of course, was convinced that he might be at death's door. Men.
I finally finished the baby blanket for my friend. Same pattern, same yarn again.
Then another of my babies turned a year older. Yes, someone had nicked 3 chocolate buttons off the cake. The investigation is ongoing, but 2 suspects have been identified and taken in for questioning.
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Which reminds me:
A lot of people here seem to use cake mixes, which do produce lovely fluffy moist cakes, but I don't have much luck with them and I prefer the taste of cakes made from scratch. Yet, while the cakes that I've made from scratch usually taste ok, they just don't seem to have turned out as well as the ones I used to make back home.
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I'm not a great cook, so I put that down to my poor culinary skills. Then I finally read an article about how American flours, sugars, baking powder etc. differ slightly from English ones, so the same recipe will turn out much different. Ok, my poor culinary skills might still be a contributing factor, but let's ignore that for a moment.
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So, as I have the American ingredients at my disposal, the solution must be to find an American recipe to use instead of my British ones. I'm trying to find an American equivalent of the basic sponge cake recipe (the British 6-6-6-3 recipe). I skim read a couple of local cookbooks, but they didn't seem to have something similar. Can anyone help?
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Translation of the day:
UK English: nick (verb) = to steal in US English
UK English: nick (verb) = to arrest in US English
As in, my offspring risked getting nicked by the fuzz by nicking chocolate buttons off the birthday cake.

23 comments:

  1. Don't know whether it would work there, but I've recently been converted to weighing the eggs and then using that to judge the other quantities for a 'normal' Victoria sponge; so I use the same weight of flour, sugar and butter as the weight of eggs. ISTR SR flour isn't the same thing in the US. Oh, and I always use caster (superfine?) sugar too.

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  2. hmm, I don't know of any good sponge cake recipes off the top of my head, but I'm sure you could find something at your local library if not on the Internet. I should be making more cakes from scratch myself, since I've got all this cake flour sitting around in the cupboard, so I'll be testing recipes along with you this spring.

    Glad you had a good trip!

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  3. I would recommend that you look at the King Arthur Baker's Companion book. I have excellent luck with all of their recipes.

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  4. Sorry, can't help you with your cake dilemma I'm pretty poor in that department too! But if its any consolation your cake looks pretty darn good to me!

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  5. I'm married to a guy from the UK (but live in the US), and use recipes from both sides of the pond.

    Rose Levy Beranbaum has a book called the Cake Bible that is a fabulous resource, plus she uses both weight and volume for measures. See if your library has this one as it's expensive and not worth it if you can't tolerate her exactness.

    I'm very fond of a little book called The Whimsical Bakehouse which is also about cake decorating. I've yet to make something out of that book which didn't work ... her lemon curd recipe is the easiest I've ever made.

    Thanks for your blog, I enjoy reading it. Hope this helps with the cakes!

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  6. I wish I had a great recipe, but I only bake pies. Cakes are just too complicated so I just buy the mixes. So bad, but easy!

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  7. Just so you know - US cake flour is similar to SR flour in the UK - but you need to use baking powder to get a good rise. Safer to use all-purpose flour (ie plain!), and rise each cup of flour with 1 tsp (I use the 5ml measuring spoons that come with the children's paracetemol) of baking powder. Also, eggs that are NOT cold from the fridge helps too.
    You could always give up and go the local bakery though...... Good luck :)

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  8. I had the reverse problem when I lived in the UK ;) Have you check Martha Stewarts site for the sponge cake recipe? Her chocolate cake recipe is fabulous (though I guess there is a debate that she took the recipe from someone else...regardless, its amazing!)

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  9. Opps, and I forgot to add that the baby blanket is adorable!!!!

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  10. And there I was thinking that flour is flour and eggs is eggs. Let us know how the next cake works.

    And I like the blanket - if it works why mess with it?

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  11. The blanket is gorgeous! And the cake, well, I don't have much advice for you. My skills as a pastry chef are not great, my 12 year old daughter is our pastry chef! I do understand about the flours being different. I miss Allinson's flour from when we lived in the UK. Haven't found anything like it here. I agree, the Cake Bible is a great book. Most libraries have it, it's worth checking out. For what it's worth, the cake still looks quite yummy, even with the three missing chocolate buttons! :-)

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  12. I have a Victoria Sponge cake recipe that has been adapted , i just haven't made it yet.
    Instead of using SR flour over here, use cake flour.
    My recipe calls for 2C Cake flour and 2 tsp Baking powder.

    It's hard trying to figure it all out isn't it ? I grew up in the UK also and am now in the U.S.. my kids LOVE those cadbury chocolate buttons ;-)

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  13. Cute cake. I only use cake mixes. Never have made a homemade cake, but my sister only makes them by hand.

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  14. I covered my son's cake with Maltesers and got literary mobbed by all the boys at the party two seconds after the candels had been blown off. By the time I got to cut it it was a very sorry sight.

    Not that they minded.

    Savages.

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  15. well, i am NOT the one to help you bake much of ANYTHING. you want poor culinary skills? i've got them.

    and no kidding, MEN. i was sick sunday night and yesterday and that was the first thing Mike brought up: swine flu. really?

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  16. I guess the solution is to use US recipes to be safe - surely they'll work. I find it hard to imagine making a cake whose recipe hasn't come out of Nigella's Domestic Goddess book though! Far too many delicious ones to chose from in there.

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  17. I am another one to vote for Nigella's recipes. Not that i know if she has a sponge cake recipe, but she has a fabulous community and list of recipes on her offical website. Sorry the advice is not very "American", but to us old fashioned Americans, Brits do things so much more charming than a Martha Stewart of the new century does.

    Good luck finding a recipe you like and happy birthday to your kiddo!

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  18. Your baby blanket is SO cute! Would you be willing to share the pattern or tell me where I could find it. I too live in So Cal. Sadly though I have no blog just an e-mail: susansbarn@yahoo.com
    I enjoy your translations. My parents are from the UK.
    Thank you, Susan : )

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  19. What about the Fuzz? Doesn't that need translating too?!
    I like your bashed apple - that sounds like a lot of fun to make!
    x x x

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  20. I crochet baby blankets all the time and would LOVE to have the "recipe" for that darling blanket posted on this page. Can you share it?

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  21. For cakes and Italian meringue buttercream, the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye and Liv Hansen is absolutly recommendable! Plus they use so many nice colours. I think you can find a few of the recipies around the net, I did, but soon I had to buy my own book. It's so good!
    Good luck from Denmark :)
    I Love your crafts!

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  22. Hiya, I'm from the UK living in.... Barbados. I now use a pound cake recipe for all my cakes, including chocolate. One pound of... flour, sugar, margerine, eight eggs and around three to four tsp of baking powder. Use the creaming method and then fold in the flour that has the baking powder in it. (if you're making chocolate cake add to the flour mixture, around three tblspoons or so). I sometimes add around a cup of milk or water to make it more moist. Bake around 200 degrees till done, maybe an hour or so depending on whether you added liquid, I use a bundt tin and it fits perfectly. Let me know if you try it! :)
    Love,
    Rose

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  23. Just passing by wanted to say Hi, Your baking looks great I am sorry to say I gave up baking once I came state side ( I from Berkshire) never could fine half the stuff I needed. the best I do is sausage rolls at Christmas now.
    Love all the crafts your in to.
    Dido

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