Baking has never been so popular. Indeed, at the start of the pandemic in March last year, you may remember struggling to get hold of flour and other essential items as we were all at home and baking cakes. But if you didn’t get bitten by the baking bug, we’ll take you through the steps you need to follow to make the simple, but classic Victoria Sponge cake. We won’t give you measurements (you’ll find recipes all over the internet) but the tips and tricks to make your bake taste like a professionals’.
Get the right ingredients
The right amount of stuff will depend on the size of the cake you are making but a good sponge cake should contain a lot of unsalted butter, caster sugar and eggs. The ingredients should be beaten together with a hand whisk to make them light and airy. You want your sugar and eggs mixed together for at least five minutes before you add any flour, otherwise, it will result in an unstable cake mix which can lead to disaster when baking.
The perfect cake
Some people like their cakes tall while others prefer them short and dense. Whether you want your sponge to rise in the oven depends on how much baking powder, if any, you put into the mix as well as the temperature of the oven you are baking it in. Many people will heat their oven to 200 degrees, regardless of what they are cooking. Be warned, this approach can lead to a burnt top and a soggy bottom!
However, if you want a tall cake that rises in the oven then it is best to heat your oven to 180 degrees. The temperature of the oven will also determine how long you should bake it for, consult your recipe of choice for the perfect heat.
It has to be strawberries and cream
Some Victoria Sponge recipes suggest that you can use buttercream and jam as a filling but for us, we like to take the purist approach and always use whipped cream and jam. The cream should be whipped so it forms pea-sized bubbles. Strawberry jam is the only jam you should use – blackberry and raspberry are just too ‘bitty’, especially for the younger recipient of your labour of love! Always try and use the best jam you can afford.
Let it rest
After you have finished your bake, let it cool. It’s important to let it rest before you start assembling your sponge cake, sandwich style. If it’s not cool your cream will go all gooey and seep into the cake itself.
- Preparation is key. Measure, weigh and sift before you turn your oven on
- Make sure your cold ingredients are all at room temperature
- Get your oven up to temperature before you put it in
- Use a timer! And prod your cake with a skewer to make sure there is no cake mix on it when it comes out
- Finally, when it comes to your ingredients try to use the best butter and free-range eggs – you will taste the difference!
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