Sunday, 24 January 2010

Victoria Sponge (All-In-One)

Right, I'm going to kick things off with a recipe for Victoria Sponge. It's an absolute classic that pleases pretty much everyone and it's also one of the easiest recipes I know, so it seems the perfect start.

This recipe is my slightly adapted version of Delia Smith's All-In-One Sponge from her Complete Illustrated Cookery Course. Incidentally, this is my cooking bible; a fantastic book which gives you lots of general tips and know-how, not just recipes.

3 eggs
self-raising flour
caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

double cream, whipped
icing sugar

*You could use butter, at room temperature, but I find cheap margarine is perfect. Avoid low-fat ones, though, as they can have too much water content.

Pre-heat the oven to 170˚C/gas mark 3.
Grease the inside of two 7-inch circular cake tins with a little bit of margarine and cut a circle of greaseproof paper/silicon paper/baking parchment for the base of each.

First of all weigh the eggs (just in their shells). This is the exact weight you want of flour, sugar and margarine. (If you're using large eggs it will probably be between 6 and 7 ounces.)

Sieve the flour into a big bowl, holding the sieve quite high so you get lots of air into it. Then simply add all the other ingredients and mix them together using an electric hand mixer. (See previous post on equipment. If you don't have one of these then I think you'll need to use the traditional method of adding ingredients gradually, like this) The mixture should be nice and smooth and will drop off a wooden spoon easily if you tap it on the side of the bowl.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and push it to the sides of the tin so you've got a fairly level surface. Then put them on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes, though it will depend on your oven. The secret to a lovely moist sponge is not to overcook it; it's ready when the top springs back when you lightly press it. Having said that, it's not good to keep opening the oven door - you'll let cold air in! So resist the temptation to check it until at least 20-25 minutes have passed.

Take the tins out of the oven and, after a few seconds, run a knife around the edge to check the cake isn't stuck and give the tin a sharp tap on the side. The cakes should then turn out easily onto a cooling rack and you can carefully peel off the paper. It's really important to cool the cakes on a rack or they will go soggy. Don't try to put any topping on them, or move them to a plate or tin, until they are completely cold.

Finish with a good spread of whipped cream and jam between the two cakes and, finally, sieve some icing sugar on the top. See picture of one I made earlier (a year ago, in fact).

Photo by Laura Bevan

1 comment:

  1. I've tried to make this really simple to follow, for those who haven't baked a cake before. If anyone actually reads this, or even tries it out, then do let me know what you think...