I seem to have developed a real aversion to oil-based cakes. Very odd. I’m pretty sure (99.9% certain) that my palate hasn’t undergone any other drastic changes, but for now, let’s play on the safe side.
Old-fashioned English tea time treats use a veritable abundance of butter. Not so good for the heart, but very yummy, c’est vrai.
One of the most traditional is the Victoria sponge. It is the first cake I learnt to bake. I would say nowadays that it is a simple cake to make, but I can recall the awful eggy abominations I used to produce, so there are many ways it can indeed go wrong.
There are manifold variations of the Victoria sponge; the classic tweaked and teased in cookbooks and over the internet. Never mind those. I still think it is best in its original incarnation. Soft salted butter, caster sugar, eggs, and self-raising flour. Not even the addition of vanilla is necessary.
My victoria sponge took a surprisingly short amount of time to bake, being ready after only 18 minutes in the oven! I put this down to using a relatively small quantity of cake batter and 15cm tins. Still, it rose beautifully, and I happily slathered a generous layer of blueberry conserve on. Originally I was intending to go for a more traditional raspberry or strawberry jam, but the blueberry worked brilliantly.
Victoria Sandwich Cake
- 130g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 130g caster sugar
- 130g spreadable salted butter
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 170 or 180˚C. Grease and line two 15cm cake tins. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs in, one by one, and then fold in the flour until just combined. Add a spoonful of milk to get it to a dropping consistency, then divide between the two cake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes until gently golden and springy. Unmould from the cake tins and wait until cooled, then sandwich the cakes together with a slathering of jam.