Ever have a day where you bake something that is not especially complicated, perhaps something you have made many a time before, and it is much more fantastic than usual? More fantastic perhaps than the effort put in?
I was asked for a victoria sponge, and I do enjoy a classic cake so I readily complied. I had raspberry jam in the fridge so decided, in a bold move that would have me cast out of the WI, to buy a pot of double cream and I was all set to go.
I have made various victoria sponges before but can honestly say hand on heart that this was the most delicious. I feel a bit of a fraud saying this as I did not do anything special, in fact my mind was on so many other things, that it should, in all fairness, have been a disaster.
Instead I was rewarded with a super soft, delicate sponge with a quite wondrous crumb structure. I filled it with sharp raspberry jam and softly whipped cream loaded with plenty of vanilla.
I am all for new baking techniques and flavour combinations but once in a while its good to remember why a classic is so awarded a place in the classic hall of fame.
Victoria sponge (raspberry and vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
170g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
170g self raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
100g raspberry jam
100ml of double cream
1 tsp vanilla paste/seeds from one vanilla pod
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN. Grease and line the base of a 20cm springform tin.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until very light and creamy, ~5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and fold in with a spatula until there is no visible flour remaining.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and level with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for ~30 minutes. Rotate the tin 2/3 of the way through cooking, especially if your oven has hot spots (like mine). Do not slam the oven door if you do not want your cake to sink!
When the cake is golden and springy to the touch, remove from the oven and allow to cool for ~10 minutes in the tin. Release the cake from the tin and allow to completely coll on a wire rack.
Using a sharp serrated knife cut the cake into two layers. At this point you can choose what to sandwich the layers with if you do not fancy jam and cream.
Add the vanilla to the cream and beat until it is softly whipped. Spread the jam onto one layer of the cake then spread with the vanilla cream. Gently place the second layer of cake on top. Gently dust with icing sugar, if you wish.