Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Piece of Cake

Several weeks ago I had an order for a Victoria Sponge for 80 people. I had never made a Victoria Sponge before and knew that a lot of people would be paying attention if it wasn't made well enough to their liking. After all, this is a classic British cake - one that is beloved by the entire nation - and I couldn't - wouldn't - disappoint.

I decided to make the cake how I would want it, by using a blend of fresh raspberries and strawberries mixed together with a blend of raspberry and strawberry jam and topped with a stabilized whipped cream, rather than just strawberry jam and a buttercream frosting. The result? To die for! Word on the street was that it was the best Victoria Sponge they had ever had!

It's so easy, a child could make it... and one did! The next day I decided to make good on a promise to a very good friend of mine to bake him a Victoria Sponge. While I was at it, I thought it would be nice to have one in our house as well. At the sound of mixing bowls clanking, my eight year-old stepson rushed to the kitchen to find out what was happening. Was there anything he could help me make? Of course there was! He loves to cook and I love to teach so it was a perfect match in the kitchen. He did everything on his own, including separating the eggs! All I did was get the ingredients out and prepared the pans. Again, the verdict was over the top with enthusiasm. It was a success!

So here you go, the recipe for one fantastic Victoria Sponge. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Victoria Sponge(grease, line with parchment and grease again two 9”x1.5” round cake pans)
Yellow Cake
6 large egg yolks
1 liquid cup milk at room temperature
2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter – softened


2 cups chopped fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries or a combination)
1 ½ cups jam (strawberry, raspberry or a blend of the two)

Whipped Cream
1 liquid cup whipping cream (or double cream)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch (corn flour)
½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Wisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until blended.
2. Lightly mix egg yolks with 1/3 of the milk and the vanilla.
3. Add butter and remaining milk to dry ingredients and mix on low until incorporated.
4. Add 1/3 of the egg yolk and milk mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Turn mixer on medium-high speed and mix for 20 seconds. Repeat this process two more times with the remaining egg yolk and milk mixture.
5. Divide cake batter evenly between the two pans.
6. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans and allow to cool completely.
7. Chop the berries and add 1 cup of the jam. Mix well.
8. Spread the berry mixture on the top of one of the cakes.
9. Warm 3 tablespoons of the cream with the cornstarch until dissolved and cool to room temperature.
10. Add the cornstarch and cream mixture with the remaining cream and whip until soft peaks form.
11. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to turn the cream to butter.
12. Spread ½ of the whipped cream over the top of the berries and cover with the second cake.
13. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup jam mixture over the top layer and spread that with the remaining ½ whipped cream.

Serve at room temperature to experience the intensity of the fruits’ flavors.

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