I started watching The Great British Bake Off by accident last year, as I was flicking through the TV channels and came across it. After 20 minutes I was hooked. I’ve seen other cookery competitions but this has to be the hardest. Just 30 seconds of overbaking can dry the recipe out or even make it too dark. It is a cruel and hard competition but very quintessentially English.
So as a tribute to the GBBO, I decided to attempt to bake a very English cake, a Victoria Sponge. I can almost hear you say, so what! I’ll tell you so what, if you’ve read my blog you will know that baking of cakes is a BIG issue with me. I’ve baked cookies, tarte au citron, a smoked haddock tart without I may say, a soggy bottom. But I have yet to make a cake that didn’t turn into a disaster.
With my stomach in my mouth, my hands shaking I picked up the GBBO book and looked up the recipe. I read it once, I read it twice and after three more reads I started my attempt at making the sponge. Would it fall flat, would it be too dry, would the cake stick to the cake tin??? Well it didn’t and it came out moist, firm, light and very tasty. With a BIG sigh of relief I can finally say I can bake a cake.
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large free eggs at room temperature
½tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour, sifted
1tbsp milk, at room temperature
6tbsp good raspberry jam
icing sugar to dust on the top
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4.
Put the soft butter into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for about a minute until it’s very smooth and creamy
Gradually beat in the sugar, then keep on beating for 3 or 4 minutes or until the mixture turns almost white and becomes very fluffy in texture. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
Break the eggs into another bowl, add the vanilla extract and beat lightly with a fork to break them up.
Slowly add the egg mixture, about a tablespoon at a time, into the butter mixture giving it a good mix before adding the next tablespoon of egg. Doing this way does take some time, but it will make the cake lighter.
Once all the eggs have been mixed into the butter re-seive the flour into bowl along with the room temperature milk.
With a large metal spoon, fold in the flour as gently as possible so you don’t knock all the air out of the mixture.
Spoon the mixture evenly into two cake tins. I did this by measuring equal amount of the mixture. Spread the mixture evening into the tins right up to the edges
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown and the sponges are springy when pressed.
Remove the tins from the oven and leave for a minute so the sponges contract slightly. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosed the sponge from the sides, then turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Set one sponge upside down on a plate and spoon over the raspberry jam. Set the second sponge on top and dust with icing sugar.
Keep in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
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