Cath’s Smile Cake is more than just a cake – it’s a tasty treat that puts a smile on your face. She invented the dish when her friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and the news left Cath at a loss.
In a bid to cheer her friend up, Cath decided to surprise her with a delicious cake complete with a smile painted in icing sugar on top.
Her friend was so touched that Cath, 47, decided to make a Smile Cake every day for a year to deliver around the community. Baking every day was a challenge but she kept it up, distributing hundreds of cakes and touching thousands of people’s lives with her simple message of a tasty treat with a smile.
Cath lives with her husband and three sons in Cheshire. She swapped a career as a primary school teacher to study for a degree in Chinese medicine and become a yoga teacher. She’s always had a love of baking, having started at a young age alongside her mother in the kitchen.
200g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
200g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g eggs (about 3 large free range eggs)
200g premium self-raising flour
3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
225g easy to spread strawberry jam
Taylor & Colledge vanilla bean dusting sugar, for dusting
Icing sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan)/Gas mark 2½. Butter and flour two 19cm (7 ½ in) sponge tins. Cut out 2 circles of card, each about the size of a £1 coin, for the eyes; and cut a crescent about 15cm long for the smiley mouth.
2. Cream the butter and sugar, until pale and fluffy, add the vanilla extract.
3. Crack the eggs separately into a bowl. Add these to the butter and sugar and beat. Add the flour and fold together. Add milk gradually until the mixture has a dropping consistency.
4. Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins and place in the oven for 24 minutes or until the cakes are golden, risen and firm to the touch. Turn the cakes onto a wire rack and allow them to cool.
5. Spread jam across the top of one of the cakes and place the other cake on top.
6. Arrange the card cut-outs on the surface, then dust all over with the vanilla bean dusting sugar, followed by a fine dusting of icing sugar. Remove the templates using tweezers and give the cake to someone to make them smile.