It would be rude to not tell you how I went about making the cake that makes up the images in my blog. I can’t take credit for the recipe for the sponges, for that I look to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who featured the recipe in The Guardian Weekend on the 15th of May 2010. This recipe is fool proof and produces a delicious light sponge, I will never use another recipe again.
What you need:
4 Eggs – Weigh your eggs in their shells and then use that same weight for your butter, sugar & flour quantities.
Golden Caster Sugar
Self Raising Flour – sieved with a pinch of salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
A little Milk (if necessary)
Heat Oven to 180c
How to make:
Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins & line with baking parchment
Beat the butter until creamy (This is where my recipe differs from Hugh’s and other recipes, most will tell you to cream the butter & sugar together but I like to beat the butter before I add the sugar – I’ve not scientifically tested this but I reckon it makes the sponge lighter)
Then add the sugar and beat until light & fluffy
Add the eggs one at a time (It can help to beat the eggs first before you add them) Beat them well after each addition, if it looks like it might start to curdle add a little flour
Beat in the Vanilla Extract
Then gently fold in the sieved flour & salt – it’s really important to fold and not to use a beater at this stage and you do not want to lose all the lovely air you have already incorporated into the mixture.
Check the consistency of the batter, scoop up a teaspoon of the mixture and hold it over the bowl. If it drops down fairly easily, it’s perfick but if it sticks stubbornly to the spoon then fold a tablespoon or two of milk.
Now divide the batter evenly, My Mum always weighs her two tins to make 100% certain that it’s even and who I am to disagree with My Mum. Smooth over the tops with a knife and then BAKE for 25-30 minutes.
Be very careful of your oven, don’t open it for a peek and don’t bang in to it or owt, as this could cause your cakes to sink. When your cakes are ready the sponges should be springy to touch and not leave an indentation of your fingers and/or a cocktail stick should come out clean.
Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for a couple of minutes, then carefully turn out and cool on a wire rack.
How to decorate:
Traditionally a Victoria Sandwich should be filled with Jam and have a dusting of Icing Sugar on top but I’m not a traditionally girl, I like butter cream and fruit – if only to help me achieve my 5 a day while indulging myself with Cake.
I’ve never really followed a recipe for Butter Icing, I just use Butter & Icing Sugar and a splash of Vanilla Essence until the consistency and volume looks right to me. Don’t use Butter style Spreads because these will Spread and your cake will collapse, always use proper Butter.
Spread the Butter Cream on the bottom half and then dollop the Jam on top, sandwich the two halves together and then spread more butter cream on top and add fruit in what ever arrangement you fancy.
I used Strawberries for this cake but I have used Raspberries in the past but I would only recommend using Raspberries or other soft berries if you are planning on eating the cake quickly, as the fruit doesn’t tend to keep too well.
Once mastered this same batter can be used for Fairy cakes, or you can jazz up the classic Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Zest, Chocolate or perhaps even turn it into a Coffee and Walnut Cake – which I am yet to try but once I do you’ll be the first to know how I went about it.
I hope you enjoy making, eating and sharing this recipe.