Victoria Sponge

My local fruit vendor told me recently that he can now procure “egg-jotic” fruits for me at a day’s notice. These exotic fruits being my favourite berries–raspberry, blackberry, redcurrant, and blueberry–apart from rambutan and other Asian favourites. Without so much as a blink of the eye, I promptly placed my order for a box each of raspberries and blackberries and instantly got home to sterilise bottles for the jam I would be making. In the meanwhile, I had ordered a couple of kilos of strawberries for my annual “red jam” for Avanee. It is the only jam she truly relishes. To cut a long story short, I made a small batch of mixed berry jam and a larger batch of plain old strawberry-vanilla jam to tide us through the painful months when berries aren’t in season.

This morning, I thought it would be a good idea to engage the forever bored Avanee (currently on a school break before she moves to Grade 1) in a baking project. We made this simple Victoria Sandwich Cake–a classic treat using up the freshly made jam, a little buttercream leftover  from a previous baking session, and topped it with some more fresh berries.

There’s something so inviting and reassuring and realistic about these classic cakes–not a smidgen of fondant or unreal color anywhere. They’re all cake, packed full of flavor, elegant, and so easy to do. They’re also very versatile–use what you have in the pantry and the same recipe turns into a whole new one.

It’s a ridiculously easy recipe that needs no fancy equipment and no mathematical genius to remember proportions and when done, it looks like you slaved over it for hours making it look just so. Serve with coffee or tea.

Victoria spone_slice

Easy Victoria Sandwich Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 100 gms. plain flour (maida)
  • 100 gms. butter (at room temperature or softened in the microwave)
  • 100 gms. caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a small pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Ingredients for the filling and decoration:

  • 50 gms. butter, softened
  • 100 gms. + 1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons jam of choice (berry jams taste best although I would just as happily use apricot or even marmalade and skip the buttercream)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mixed berries
  • Sprigs of mint

Method:

  1. Sieve the flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a food processor bowl or mixer, place the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Run the machine for a minute until the mixture is pale and creamy. If it begins to curdle at some point (and this will happen if any of the ingredients are even remotely cool), simply add a tablespoon or two of the flour mix and continue.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the flour and using swift movements and a good silicon spatula, fold to make a homogenous batter.
  4. Pour into a greased and lined baking tin (I used an 8 inch round tin) and bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees centigrade for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Mix the butter, 100 gms of icing sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl using a balloon whisk. Keep aside.
  7. Slice the cake horizontally into two. Spread the buttercream on one half. Top with jam. Sandwich the two halves back together and press down gently.
  8. Dust the top with icing sugar and decorate with a scattering of fresh berries and mint sprigs. Serve at room temperature with tea or coffee or refrigerate upto two days.
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