You may have read yesterday how I participated in a Victoria Sponge Competition over the weekend for a charity bake sale in aid of Comic Relief. Out of all the entries I placed Runner Up and I couldn’t be more proud. The competition was high, and there were a number of rules needing to be abided by, as the competition was being judged by the Women’s Institute. I have never felt so much pressure when making what I thought would be a simple Victoria Sponge! The tin for the cake had to be 7 inches (the smallest I own is a 7.5 inch tin .. Do they even do smaller?), you could only fill it with strawberry jam (where is the cream!), and then dusted lightly with a fine layer of caster sugar! To top it off it wasn’t allowed to have any marks from the cooling rack! Are you feeling my pressure?
Fear not, as it actually wasn’t hard at all. In fact, I have to say it was one of the best sponges I have ever made in terms of colour, height of the sponge and the browning of the edges. Usually I have a bit of a war with my oven when I bake .. it never takes as long as the recipe says and I find I spend my time squatting in front of the oven door to try and work out when its done – sometimes the time a recipe says will mean my cake is too dark! Its been a struggle for the last 18 months, but I think I am finally getting somewhere! (We will become friends!)
So I wanted to share with you my bake, as I completely changed the method in how I made my sponge. I’m not sure about you, but with my KithenAid, I tend to just pour all the ingredients into one bowl and whisk until soft and creamy. But this time, a lot more precision went into the mix, firstly, by weighing my eggs.
As you know, research is key and I did a lot of this beforehand to see how other people made theirs and if it differed from my method – egg weighing seemed to be the only difference, which is why I thought I would give it a try. Then all the other ingredients are weighed out to be the same as the eggs. Firstly, mixing together the butter and the sugar until thick and cream. Then adding the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and then the baking powder. Followed finally by the self raising flour. The mixture seemed light and fluffy and baked perfectly in the oven, with the cake starting to come away from the sides and browning off ever so slightly. The temperature of my oven was also lower then normal at 160C. The sponges took 10 minutes longer then the recipe had stated, but they baked beautifully and evenly which I was really pleased about.
In order to win me some more brownie points, I used my homemade jam from my night of jam making earlier last week. Have you read that post yet? I was amazed at how easy jam is to make, although you have to ignore the sugar content! It’s enough to make your teeth hurt! And I think in the end it paid off, since I placed Runner Up in the competition.
I definitely found a new love for the Victoria Sandwich. It’s the basis of all great cakes, and even though it’s not covered in some wacky design and stuffed with butter cream, its understated and classic and a sure favourite amongst the young and the old and a tasty tea-time treat. I mean who doesn’t love a slice with their afternoon cup of tea. Even Queen Victoria was know to enjoy a slice or two! (Hence the name Victoria Sponge).
Do you love this classic sponge cake? Do you weigh your eggs before you make a cake?