After watching the first episode of the new The Great British Bake Off, I felt an urgent need to make a cake. It seemed as though everybody else in Dalston did too, as the baking supplies isle in the giant Sainsbury’s was looking pretty empty!
As it’s been hot hot hot in London this week, I thought I’d go for a Victoria sponge cake. It feels quite British picnic to me; light, summery and the best season for fresh strawberries. In keeping with GBBO I referenced a Mary Berry recipe, but tweaked it a teeny bit. Here’s how you bake it!
What you need:
225g self-raising flour
225g caster sugar
225g butter (soft – melt a bit otherwise it will be hard to mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
300ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
Fresh strawberries, sliced
1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with butter and baking parchment. OR, use silicone bake-wear sandwich ‘tins’, which is what I do and there is no risk of sticking – it’s like magic seriously. You only need to put a little bit of butter in the bottom of them.
3. Break your eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, half melted butter and baking powder.
4. Mix together until combined. I do this with a large wooden spoon, and my pure arm power! No need to stir for too long, just until it’s blended together and is of the consistency that it will drop off your spoon.
5. Pour your mixture evenly into your two tins/silicone bake-wear, smooth over the top with a spoon so it’s nice and flat.
6. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN – it may well make your sponge sink in the middle! After 20 minutes just check they haven’t burnt by peering through the door.
7. While your sponges are baking, make your whipped cream. Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk until it thickens, this does take a lot of muscle and can take around 5 minutes of whisking before it gets thick! If you have an electric whisk it is probably much quicker. You want it so it’s the thickness of a light buttercream. If in doubt, Google some pictures!
8. Take your cakes out the oven. Check that they are golden brown in colour and coming away from the edge of your baking tins slightly. This means they are cooked.
9. Leave them to cool in their dishes for 5 minutes. After this take a clean tea towel or cooling rack and tease them out, leave to cool completely.
10. Once your sponges have cooled, cover the bottom sides of them in strawberry jam. Add your whipped cream to one of them, and place them together!
11. Place your cut strawberries round the edge of the cake to decorate. Then grab a sieve, and add a light dusting of icing sugar to finish.
12. Serve with a large cup of tea and don’t eat too much at once! It’s more sickly than it looks ;)