Monday, 15 August 2011

Back to basics - Victoria Sponge

Well I definitely got my baking Mojo back this weekend! With a vengeance!

I spent Saturday shopping with my lovely sister and she bought me two new cookery books! The first was the Great British Bake-off
book, which accompanies the TV show that was on BBC2 and the second was Gizzi's Kitchen Magic which is not only gorgeous to look at but full of great tips and delicious recipes.

Oh the possibilities!

I spent most of my Saturday night immersed in these books, trying to decide which recipes to try, there was far to many to chose from.

In the end I decide to ease myself back into this baking game with a simple Victoria sponge. The bake-off book had a recipe which they dubbed "the perfect Victoria sponge" so I decided to try it and see how perfect it really was.

  • 225 g (8 oz) softened butter
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 2 x 20cm (8in) greased and lined sandwich tins

    As always I started by measuring out all of my ingredients, I like to work like a TV chef and have all my ingredients pre-measured around me in little dishes, if only I had some sort of production team to take care of this for me and the subsequent dishes.

    I started off by softening the butter in a large mixing bowl with my electric whisk. Once the butter was soft and creamy I added the sugar and mixed until light and fluffy.

    Then pre-mixed the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and gradually added it to the sugar/butter mixture. The book mentioned that if the mixture starts to look curdled or split then add a tablespoon of flour. Mine did look a bit split at this point but the tablespoon of flour sorted it right out.

    Once the egg, sugar and butter were all combined, I started sifting the flour into the bowl bit by bit. I put my electric whisk down at this point and folded the flour in with a wooden spoon. According to the book this helps keep air in the mixture and makes for a lighter cake.

    Once there were no streaks of flour visible in the mix, I stopped folding. Do not over-fold or you can stretch the gluten and end up with a heavy cake (So the book says, I am learning so much today!)

    At this stage your mix should look like this:

    Cake batter

    I then carefully cut out two circles of greaseproof paper and lightly greased the cake tins with butter.

    Greased cake tins lined with parchment

    I then split the batter between my two cake tins, you can either do this by eye (as I did) or you can weigh them to be even more precise.

    ready for the oven

    Who can actually resist licking the bowl, its the best bit!

    I may have licked the bowl...

    After 20-25 minutes (mine were in for 24 minutes) I popped them out of their tins and onto a cooking rack. My tins have loose bottoms (oh-er) and are really easy to pop out. I also have some handy spring-form ones which I love, but I didn't have two the same size.


    I decided to go old-school and fill the middle with strawberry jam and fresh cream. Although I was told by my taste-testers afterwards that butter-cream would have made for a less sickly cake. The recipe book actually only had Jam in their filling but where is the fun in that?

    Jam and cream... Mmmmm

    Topped off witha light dusting of icing sugar and a strawberry. Perfect!

    Topped off with a strawberry.

    Now came the ultimate test; the tasting! *drum roll*

    It was delicious! Light and fluffy in the middle, crisp and firm on the outside, it didn't crack on the top (which my cakes usually do).
    Overall I am very impressed! I do believe this recipe lives up to its over-ambitious name! Highly recommended.

    So soft and moist!

    I also cooked some other delicious things over the weekend, so keep an eye out for some delicious blog posts to come.

    If anyone is interested, "The Great British Bake Off" is being re-aired on BBC2, Tuesday nights at 8pm starting on the 16th August.
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    1. Looks are my inspiration for a period of brief domestic goddess madness! XXX

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    3. I've been thinking about buying both of these books, would you recommend them? I'm finally moving into a flat with a decent kitchen so I'm looking for a book to celebrate with! And your cake looks SO good.

    4. I would definitely recommend the Great British Bake off one. It is great especially if you are not the most confident baker, the instructions are very clear and there are pictures of all the various stages. Also the recipes themselves look amazing! I am itching to try more.

      I haven't really had a chance to read the Gizzi book thoroughly but when I do I shall be sure to post some of my attempts. :)

      Good luck with the move! I am moving into a new house this weekend with a gorgeous kitchen! :)

    5. Yummers, I tried the Mocha Chocolate Cake and the Self Saucing Chocolate Fudge pudding this weekend from GBBO.
      Can I make a Naughty Victoria Sandwich suggestion? Try Jam, Cream, sliced strawberries then a thin layer of Jam on the bottom of the the top(?!)sandwich. Plus a dust of icing suger on the top.....cheeky x

      1. I've made the self saucing fudge pudding too, it was delicious! Didn't last long enough for a photo! lol

        Yum! Sounds delicious! Might have to give it a go in the summer.


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