So last week marked the return of The Great British Bake Off – HURRAH!! I decided that I would try my hand at this year’s challenges, from the safety of my own home (all the fun, none of the terrifying Paul Hollywood!) So this week I started off with Week 1 – Cake. Whilst perhaps not as fancy as my Pigs in a Mudbath Hot Tub cake I shared last week, and certainly not as grand as the showstoppers on The Great British Bake Off this week (just how amazing was Fran’s hidden squirrel cake?!), I decided to start off simple and classic for my own GBBO challenge, and make a family favourite – a Victoria Sponge Cake!
I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, the cake was nice and fluffy and both halves were pretty even, though it did start to ooze strawberry jam and tilt ever so slightly after being left to sit after 5 minutes. All tasters had good reviews though, and I guess as long as it tastes good, that’s all that matters! (easy for me to say – Paul Hollywood may not quite agree!!)
It was really simple to bake, and I used the all-in method and measurements my mum taught me (thanks mum!)
1 ) Cream the butter and sugar together until it resembles a light almost mousse like consistency.
2) Crack all the eggs into a cup and whisk together with a fork.
3) Add some of the flour into the butter and sugar mix, as well as some of the egg. I usually just tip a bit of each at a time. Mix it all together.
4) Keep adding the eggs and flour into the main sugar / butter bowl in manageable amounts until all the ingredients are incorporated and mixed in, and have a smooth consistency.
5) Add in the vanilla essence and mix in until distributed evenly through the mix. Add more if you think it needs it.
6) Split the mixture between 2 cake tins and place them in the middle of the oven.
7) Cook for 20 – 25 mins on Gas Mark 6 / 200c. Keep an eye on them, and when a golden brown and cooked through, take them out to cool on a wire rack.
8) Put a block of butter into a bowl of sifted (sieved?!) icing sugar (I don’t know exact measurements, I always guestimate and make my butter icing to taste).
9) Cream these together. If the icing sugar doesn’t catch onto the butter and the mix remains very powdery, then add a dash of milk. This will help bring the sugar and butter together, but you may need to add more icing sugar to soak up the milk! (as you can see, I’m not a very precise baker! Good job Paul and Mary aren’t here to watch!)
10) Keep tasting your mixture, you’ll be able to tell if it tastes too buttery or icing sugary (?!). You can also gauge how much you’ll need (and if you make too much, well you can either have a REALLY full and rich cake, or save some to use on something else!)
|So delicious, and virtually fat free……..|
11) Once the cakes are completely cool, and firm (I sometimes leave them over night to make sure they’re completely “set” before assembling) choose one cake to be the top and one to be the bottom. I usually put the biggest / least perfectly cooked one at the bottom to provide more stability / try and hide any imperfections!
12) Place the Bottom cake flat side down (obviously – don’t want an uneasy cake!) then spoon the butter icing onto it, placing dollops in a circle round the outside, then smoothing in towards the centre. This is a little tip I picked up at the Foodies Festival on Clapham Common this Summer! By putting the butter icing around the outside, and then moving into towards the centre of the cake, it provides more stability, so should stop your cake going lopsided, or having gaps round the outside.
13) Once you’ve put as much butter icing in as required (I like a good thick layer 😀 ) then spoon on the strawberry jam on top. I find it’s best to do it this way around, as the butter icing is denser, so makes a better base layer than the jam would. This time I think it is also best to start placing the jam in the centre, and then smoothing it out towards the sides so try and prevent leakage (though apparently this didn’t work too well on this occasion, though I think that was because I was a bit overzealous – *cough* greedy – and put too much in!)
14) Once you’ve finished the filling, it’s time to complete the sandwich by putting on the Top cake. Turn the Top piece of cake upside down so that the flat surface (which would have been where the mixture was against the bottom of the cake tin) is facing upwards. This means you’ll have a nice flat top, and give a cleaner, more professional finish. Gently place this on top of the sandwich.
15) Gently dust sieved icing sugar over the top to complete your beautiful Victoria Sponge!
|I certainly didn’t scrimp on the filling! Mary would have approved!|
|Cake fit for a queen!|