Never Fail Cake

It’s Mel again! In honour of Masterchef’s finals week, I decided to finally attempt a recipe my aunt had recommended at Easter – Julie Goodwin’s Never Fail Cake. Julie Goodwin was the inaugural winner of Masterchef Australia in 2009. I would just like to say I dislike the term ‘Never Fail,’ as it leaves so much room for disappointment. Also what constitutes ‘never fail’?

Milk; Sugar; Self Raising Flour; Butter; Eggs; Vanilla Extract; Salt

This is very much a pantry cake, and one that Julie states in the introduction is quite versatile. Spices and citrus may be added to suit personal tastes. However, the cake  serves twelve people. I decide to make this cake on a whim and so only had one of the two required cups of sugar. I instead substituted one cup of brown sugar for the white sugar.

Beat the sugar and eggs together before adding the eggs and the vanilla extract.

Baking on a whim, while fun, has one disadvantage – cold hard butter. I usually just warm it slightly in a microwave until I read that the sugar can be heated instead of the butter. In the knowledge that this was a Never Fail Cake, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try. I heated the sugar in the microwave for 42 seconds. I was pleased with the results. It softened the butter without melting it.

1/3 of the flour is mixed in, followed by a 1/3 of the milk. This step is repeated twice. The recipe in the book lists salt as an ingredient but doesn’t actually use it in the method. I added the pinch of salt with flour.

The Cake then bakes for 40 odd minutes and it comes out of the oven all nice and golden brown.

I don’t have a 26cm springform tin so I used my handy 23cm tin. Usually I don’t think it makes a difference. In this case, I could only fit about 3/4 of the batter into the tin. I had to make cupcakes with the remaining batter because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Why do I say that? because the cake that comes out of the oven is HUGE.

It’s yummy. Have I mentioned that? It’s soft and buttery and quite delicate so care needs to be taken when plating. Plating – I could be a Masterchef contestant. Or Not. I couldn’t survive without the internet for 3+ months. I simply sprinkled my cake with icing sugar but you could also ice it.

Julie Goodwin’s Never Fail Cake*
Serves 12
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

250g Unsalted Butter
2 Cups (440g) Sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
3 Cups (450g) Self Raising Flour
1 1/2 Cups (375ml) Milk Good Pinch of Salt

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 26cm spring form tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper. Using an electric beater beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, then beat in the vanilla essence.

Stir in 1 cup (150g) of the flour, then 1/2 cup (125ml) of the milk. Repeat until all the flour and milk are used and make sure there are no lumps in the batter. Transfer to the prepared cake tin.

Bake for about 45 minutes until the cake springs back gently when touched in the middle and comes away from the edges of the pan. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then release the sides and cool completely on a wire rack before icing with a simple butter frosting.

* Goodwin, J, 2010. Our Family Table. 1st ed. Sydney: Random House

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