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Sunday, 10 January 2010

A piece of cake

If you enjoy baking, here is the recipe for the perfect Victoria Sponge! This has been handed down from mother to daughter in my family for many years and never fails. I made this recipe the other day for a friend's birthday and to make it extra special I made a little rose out of icing to sit atop the sponge. Anyway, here is the recipe for the cake and indeed a method for the icing rose, too!

6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Cream the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fully mixed. Break in the eggs and before beating them in, sift in half of the flour to prevent the mixture from splitting. Once mixed, add the remaining flour and the vanilla essence. The trick is to beat in as much air as you can to give the sponge it's lightness so once the mixture is fully bound, fold the mixture for another few seconds to make sure it's light as a feather.
Now spoon the mixture equally into two lined tins. I hate using greaseproof paper so I line my cake tins by rubbing a small amount of butter all around the tin followed by a spoonful of flour. Roll the flour around so it sticks to the butter and fully dusts the tin before spooning in your cake mix. This method is easier than faffing with paper and the sponge comes out just as easily!
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cakes a springy to the touch. A good way to gauge if the cake is cooked all the way through is by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the thickest part of the cake. If the skewer/knife comes out clean, the cake is done, if not, return to the oven and keep an eye.
Once the cake is totally cooled, it's time for the filling. I've always followed my Mum's recipe for the buttercream icing and she never measures anything but my advice would be to start with 50g of softened unsalted butter and 100g icing sugar. Bind the two together and keep adding more of each until you have the right amount- sorry it's not more exact!
Then all that remains is the jam! Don't scrimp on the jam- use something homemade if you can, if not, Bonne Maman is a good subsitute. I like strawberry best with a Victoria Sponge but you can use whatever you fancy. Pour the jam over the underside of one of the sponges so you have a nice thick spread (you want it to spill out a bit at the edges when you put the two sponges together). On the underside of the other sponge, spread your buttercream (again, quite thickly) before putting the two sponges together so the jam and buttercream combine.
A nice touch is to ice the top with plain white icing (sifted icing sugar and a little boiling water, for those of you new to baking). Furthermore, if you have the time, decorate the cake with a pretty, edible rose!
Roll out a little pre-made icing (from any supermarket) and with a sharp knife cut out four large rose petal shapes, three medium, two small and one tiny. Put the four together in a rough circle to create a base, sealing the edges with a bit of water. Make the next layer with the three smaller petals making sure that you position the middle of the smaller petals over the join of the petal below. Repeat this process for the next two layers. With the smallest petal, roll into a spiral shape and stick in the centre of the flower. Pick the whole thing up and pinch and curl the edges to make the perfect icing rose before proudly placing in the centre of the cake!
OH! And before I forget- don't put your cake in the fridge! It makes it go hard and the buttercream will return to the consistency of butter! Not good!

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