The easiest cake in the world

To be fair, all the best-tasting cakes made from scratch are a little difficult. But as life goes, it’s not one of the biggest challenges you’ll face. Be accurate with measurements and temperatures, have all of your bits set up and ready in advance, and every cake recipe will be much easier. This sour cream cake is very buttery and best eaten cold. The mixture is versatile; it will happily fit into a 20cm round or 18cm square tin, or can be used for small cupcakes. I like to bake it in an ordinary 2lb loaf tin.

The quantity of batter here would normally spill over the sides, but I put a foil collar in the tin which gives it a bit of elegant height. It’s a trick you can use with any tin if you need a deeper cake, or if you have more mixture in the recipe than will fit in it.

Sour cream butter cake

200g unsalted butter, softened

250g caster sugar

2 large eggs

200g sour cream

300g plain flour

3 level tsp baking powder

Butter and line the base of a 20cm round, 18cm square or 2lb loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment, held in place with a little butter.

If you are using the loaf tin, take a sheet of aluminium foil three times the length of the tin and fold the upper and lower thirds inwards. This will produce one very long narrow foil collar. Carefully bend the foil so it sits upright and tight against the inside of the loaf tin and pinch the join together so it won’t unravel.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well till combined. An electric mixer really does the best job here. Beat in the sour cream till it vanishes into the mixture, then sift the flour and baking powder together and beat this through.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, heat the oven to 180C (160C fan-assisted) and bake for 45 minutes (shallow cake) to an hour (deep loaf tin with a collar) or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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The easiest cake in the world