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Victoria Spongee

Or Lady Victoria Sponge.


Is there anything more glorious than the perfect Victoria Sponge? I have three tricks of the trade to share, which will guarantee the tastiest, fluffiest cake you've ever made. Use whipped cream and five minute chia seed jam for a not too sweet, hardly any faff filling and you'll be the envy of all at the summer fete - or at least very popular at your own kitchen table.

As you can see, our Victoria Sponge (which I liked to call 'Lady Victoria' on account of her classy ingredient additions) has been rebranded in homage to Cake from 'Sarah and Duck.' This is Biggest Small's favourite binge watch. When looking up a recipe for her friend Duck's birthday cake, Sarah mispronounces Victoria Sponge as 'Spongee' and it's stuck. Sarah actually ends up making a bread cake (whatever that is), which comes to life (of course it does) and teaches her how to bake. So when we made this recently Biggest Small also demanded that we make the cake look like Cake himself. This lead to me staying up way past my bed time crafting a cake stencil to make exactly the right face from cocoa powder on top of the cake, cloud shaped eyebrows and all. The things we do! Stencilling though is a relatively easy was to decorate a cake if you're ever stuck and there's some good ready made ones available to buy. Just place on the top of the cake, gently dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder and remove. Voila.

This recipe makes three 15cm (6 inch) tiers. I hardly ever make the more traditional 20cm cakes any more. They're just to big for a little family treat cake and there's something far more decadent about three layers. However, if you wanted to make two big layers, just double the recipe and fill the pans 3/4 full. If you've got mixture left over then make a few cupcakes and freeze them for decorating later. Everyone's a winner.


So my three tricks of the trade are:

Always use golden caster sugar - it is processed in a way to make sure it retains more molasses than normal caster sugar. It's golden colour and buttery, honey taste are game changing in baking. No more eggy, plain tasting cakes!


Add 1 tsp of really good quality vanilla extract to the mix to make a really luxurious flavour. The stuff that comes in a little jar. You can see the real vanilla seeds in it. Yum.


If you have time and can be bothered, make the cake layers a day ahead, drizzle them with sugar syrup (100ml water, 100g golden caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract heated until the sugar dissolves) and wrap in clingfilm over night. Of course, if you are baking with smalls time may well be of the essence. Skipping this stage and going straight to assembly is fine too. It'll still taste good, but if you're making the cake for an occasion you might like to go this extra mile.

Ingredients


200g unsalted butter

200g golden caster sugar

1 tsp really good vanilla extract

4 large eggs

200g self raising flour


3 x 15cm cake tins, greased and lined on the base.


For the filling


300ml double cream

Jam - see here for my five minute chia jam that you can make whilst the cake bakes.


Method


1. Mix the butter, vanilla extract and sugar until creamy and just combined.


2. Add the eggs along with a few tablespoons of the flour and mix until combined.


3. Add the flour and combine one last time before tipping the mixture as equally as possible into the three prepared tins.


4. Bake for 20 minutes at 180° then cool on a wire rack.

To complete the bake, whip the double cream to a dollopable consistency. Level the cakes with a bread knife or cake leveller, spread two with jam and cream and place on top of each other. Sprinkle the top with icing sugar. To achieve the look above, put the whipped cream into a piping bag, cut off the end about 3cm up from the tip and pipe big blobs around the edge of each cake.

If you're using a cake stencil to finish the cake and wish to use cocoa powder, mix it with a little icing sugar first to avoid a bitter taste.


If you want to make your own stencil, you can do it by drawing a simple design on a piece of plastic the size of your cake (from a heavy duty plastic wallet or document folder) and cutting out the design with nail scissors.



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