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Busy, Busy, Busy
Red and White Party Cake
Old-fashioned Crêpe Paper Chains
Funky Bookmarks
Twirl the Trencher
Wolf Hunt Raisin
Keep On
Up Jenkins!
Apple Bobbing and Sweet Dunking
Face To Face
Gaia’s Courgette Birthday Cake
Decorate a Birthday Chair
Birthday Board

Red and White Party Cake

This red, slightly chocolately-flavoured sponge is a great novelty cake for children's parties – you can make it into a fire engine, Spiderman or sports cake, or decorate with buttercream as a red and white celebration for St George's Day.

For the sponge:
3 heaped tsp cocoa
40g red food colouring
150g butter or margarine
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp good-quality vanilla essence
½ tsp salt
300g flour
284ml pot buttermilk (or make your own)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp white vinegar

For the buttercream:
50g flour
285 ml milk
250g butter or margarine (or half and half of both)
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp good-quality vanilla essence
½ tsp salt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.
First mix the cocoa and red food colouring to a smooth paste in a small bowl. Put to one side.
To make the sponge, beat the butter or margarine and caster sugar together. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the cocoa mixture, followed by the vanilla essence and salt, until well combined. Add half the flour, beating until just combined, then beat in the buttermilk, followed by the remaining half of the flour. Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda over the top of the mixture, then pour the vinegar over – this will froth! Stir gently until combined. Then spoon the mixture into the cake tins and coook in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out on to a cake rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream:
Put the milk and flour in a medium-sized non-stick pan, and stir over a medium heat. Keep stirring all the time to stop lumps forming – the mixture will thicken rapidly. When it has reached a thick, gloopy consistency, take it off the heat and scrape the mixture out of the pan and into a bowl. Cool the mixture down rapidly, stirring all the time, by plunging the bowl into a container of cold water (make sure it doesn’t lap over the sides!). Leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat the butter or margarine and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla essence and salt (if using). Add the milk and flour mixture, and beat vigorously for a couple of minutes, until very well-combined. With a palette knife, sandwich the two cakes together with a layer of buttercream, then decorate round the sides and finally on the top.