Thursday 18 September 2014

Queen Victoria Sponge from Jamie's Great Britain.

My Mum is the easiest to please when it comes to birthday cakes. She likes a plain sponge cake. Super easy and it's always nice having a forgotten favourite now and again. Sponge cake is never something I think of often when I want to bake something sweet but every time I make it I always think, why don't I make this more often. They are great afternoon tea cakes and you can dress them up or down and fill them with anything you want. They make a lovely birthday cake too, letting you experiment with fillings, flavoured oils, icings and syrups. It's like a blank canvas for you to make your own!

queen victoria sponge cake

There are probably thousands of sponge cake recipes and I know the sponge cake I made at TAFE was completely different to this recipe. This one is much more of a pound cake but I think these are a little tastier and have a bit more guts to them. And the fact that to make a traditional sponge you need to whisk the eggs for about 10 minutes... there is that 'I don't have a stand mixer' problem again. So I went with this recipe from Jamie Oliver's Great Britain cookbook. It was quite fitting since Mum's an Essex girl originally but I think she's a true blue Auzzie now, being here more than 40 years.

I made this during the madness of Spiderman cupcakes and finished it off at my mum's place where we celebrated her birthday. Every time I walk into mum mum's kitchen I just wish it was mine. It's so lovely and new with large, wide benches that aren't blue and ... a dishwasher!! Luxury!

I split the mixture into two sandwich tins and baked them for easily 40 minutes but please don't go by this time. The oven I have is from the 60's and bakes things odd if you haven't already read about my oven disasters. I will put the time Jamie's uses below and go from that as a guide.

When they were cool I put whipped vanilla cream in the centre and fresh strawberries. Jamie says to add rose essence and orange zest to the cake but I knew Mum wouldn't be a fan of that and raspberry jam and fresh raspberries in the centre but the raspberries were $9 a punnet and the strawberries were $1.50 a punnet so I went with more strawberries over a tiny amount of raspberries.

I did try and crystallise rose petals but they turned out terrible and went straight in the bin. The reason... I don't have a pastry brush at home. I will try them again another time and let you know how they go and put a better description than brush egg white on them, dust in sugar and bake. Hmmm there has to be more to it or everyone would do it all the time. I will get back to you on this.

So some simple dusting of icing sugar over the top and a strawberry in the middle was my final touch and boy oh boy ... YUM.

Happy Birthday for last Friday Mama. I hope you had a wonderful day, love you x

queen victoria sponge cake

Queen Victoria Sponge from Jamie's Great Britain.

serves 10
(recipe below adapted -  find original recipe here.)

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g raw (golden) caster sugar
4 large eggs
250g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

250mL pure cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

300g strawberries, washed and halved

To make the cake - 

- Pre-heat your oven to 190 C or 375 F.

- Grease two 20cm cake tins with butter, line the bases then dust with flour. Make sure you line and make your cake tin non-stick properly. It's so disappointing to put all that effort in then have your cake stick and not come out of the tin.

- Cream butter and sugar together until pale and creamy with electric hand held beaters (or by hand - there is nothing wrong with a bowl and wooden spoon). Add vanilla and combine well.

- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

- Fold the flour through by hand half at a time until it is all incorporated.

- If you mixture is really thick at this point (mine was) add 2 tbsp of milk and mix it in to loosen it up.

- Spoon the mixture evenly into the two prepared tins and spread with a pallette knife or the back of a spoon to even out the surface.

- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (mine baked for 40 - so make sure you kinda know your oven).

- The cake should be cooked when a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. Allow to cool in tins slightly then turn out onto a cooling rack.

To decorate the cake - 

- Once your cakes are completely cool you can assemble them.

- Whisk cream, sugar and vanilla together until fluffy peaks (you don't want to create butter so be careful).

- If you're cakes have domed alot you may want to trim the top so you can stack them on top of each other. Choose which one will be the base and which one will be the top.

- On the base, cover the top with about half of the whipped cream then scatter the strawberries on top (you may not need all of them, just use enough to cover the top). Add the rest of the cream then place the second cake on top.

- Dust the top with icing sugar in a sieve and the most beautiful strawberry you can find.

- Store in the fridge if not eating straight away, otherwise... DIG IN!

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