Sunday, 3 August 2008

Victoria Sponge Made Simple

It's not often that I bake cakes, but sometimes on a Sunday, we feel we deserve a treat, so this weekend I decided to make a Victoria sandwich cake, but with a twist. Instead of the usual strawberry jam I used lemon curd and for added zing I pepped up the sponge with some grated lemon zest.

The recipe that follows is for the basic version, but for the adventurous it can be adapted to create many different variations on flavour.

TIP: This is such an easy way to work out how much of each ingredient you need. You should never need to refer to a recipe again.
First weigh your eggs in ounces as this makes for nice round figures. Then use the same weight for each of your unsalted butter, caster sugar and self raising flour.

Today, my three large eggs gave me 7 oz, so the recipe was as follows:

3 large eggs
7 oz unsalted butter, softened
7 oz caster sugar
7 oz self raising flour
half teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to Gas 4.
Grease two 8 inch sandwich tins and place a circle of greaseproof paper or baking parchment in the bottom of each one.

Beat together the softened butter and sugar until it becomes pale and creamy. I always like to use my KitchenAid mixer for this, as it makes the cake so light in texture.

Whisk the eggs in a jug until slightly frothy.

With the mixer still running, add the eggs by pouring very slowly in a thin stream into the butter and sugar mix. When the mixture is pale, and increased in volume, stop the mixer and remove the bowl from it.

Sieve in a tablespoon of the flour and fold in carefully to avoid knocking out any air.
Repeat, adding a spoonful at a time until all the flour and baking powder is incorporated.
The mixture should be of a soft dropping consistency. If it seems too stiff, then fold in some milk.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and spread out evenly, smoothing off the tops.

Place in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes.

The cakes are ready when they're risen, golden brown and their edges are pulling away slightly from the sides of the tin.

Turn them out on to a cooling rack and carefully remove the baking paper.
Leave until completely cool before filling with jam.
To finish, sprinkle the top of the cake with caster sugar.

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