Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Perfect Victoria Sponge

Victoria sponge cake


4 free-range eggs, this will give you a really rich yellow cake

225g/8oz caster sugar, plus a little extra for dusting the finished cake

225g/8oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g/8oz margarine or soft butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins

To serve, good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam, whipped double cream (optional) or thick custard (optional)

Preparation method
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2.Grease and flour 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins
3.Add soft  margarine to a mixing bowl and whisk in sugar until almost white.
4. Crack in the eggs and a spoonful of flour and whisk until combined.
5.Sift flour and add in along with baking powder, whisk gently until combined.

Mixing tip:

The easiest way to do this is with an electric hand mixer, but you can use a wooden spoon. Put a damp cloth under your bowl when you’re mixing to stop it moving around. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency – it should fall off a spoon easily.

5.Divide the mixture evenly between the tins: this doesn’t need to be exact, but you can weigh the filled tins if you want to check. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.

6.Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don't be tempted to open the door while they're cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.

7.The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

8.To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack.

9.Set aside to cool completely.

10.To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it with plenty of jam. If you want to, you can spread over whipped cream too or extra thick custard.

11.Top with the second cake, top-side up. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.


Chocolate:  Replace 1oz of flour with 1oz cocoa

Coffee: Dissolve a dessert spoon of coffee granules in a dessert spoon of hot water and add with eggs when cool.

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