Monday, 11 January 2016

A Classic: Victoria Sponge

To start off the New Year I thought I’d go for a classic bake – the Victoria Sponge. I made this for my Nan’s birthday a few days ago on request. After all of the indulgent flavours of the Christmas season it was nice to go back to basics with a nice fluffy sponge sandwiched with fruity jam and a light butter cream. This cake really is perfect for those January babies who don’t want a birthday cake too heavy. Or you can use it as a base for an iced extravaganza. Your choice.
Rather than creaming the butter and sugar first before adding the flour and eggs, this time I went for the all-in-one method which I previously criticized. Turns out it doesn’t really matter how you mix a sponge. The trick is not to over-mix it!
I have also opted for the longer-lasting butter cream filling as opposed to fresh cream. But if you know the Vicky sponge won't last more than 2 days crack out the whipping cream!

Cake Ingredients
6 oz / 150g margarine or soft butter
6 oz / 150g caster sugar
6 oz / 150g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry jam
6 oz / 150g icing sugar
3oz / 75g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-dash of milk

1) Grease and line two sandwich cake tins and preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark 5.

2) Put all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer or hand beater for approximately 2 minutes until everything is incorporated and a smooth light batter is achieved (I'm talking drop-off-the-spoon consistency...). Divide between the sandwich tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly shrunken away from the sides and springy to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

3) With an electric hand beater fluff up the butter. Add the vanilla extract and gradually sieve in the icing sugar, mixing after each addition. It may be necessary to add a dash of milk every now and then to loosen it up a bit. Once all the icing sugar is added continue to beat the icing until pale and spreadable- a couple of minute should do.

4) Spread the jam generously on one of the upturned cakes. Spread the other cake with the butter cream and sandwich them together – whether you have the jam or butter cream on top is entirely up to you! Dust liberally with icing sugar. Gorgeous.