Monday, August 15, 2011

Victoria Sponge Cake - Nigella Lawson

I was blessed with some wonderful cookbooks at my bridal shower 5 years ago. I have savored them. I've run to them when I'm in a bind. I've even been known to stay up in bed reading them cover to cover. Well, really only one of them. Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess", to be precise. She has a wonderful way with words so that you come away feeling like you have actually met her and had a conversation with her, and now you're best friends. Or maybe that's just me!

I haven't tried many of her recipes yet, but her Victoria Sponge has become a go-to for me for afternoon teas. The kind where you might lay the table with your mother-in-law's china and some cloth napkins, and serve smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches.

You know, your typical everyday afternoon tea. Ha, I wish! How about for a bridal shower?

That's more like it.

Victoria Sponge (from Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess")

1 cup unsalted butter (very soft)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self-raising cake flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla, and then add eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour in between each one. Fold in the rest of the flour and cornstarch and enough of the milk to create a mixture that is a soft, dropping consistency.
3. Pour and scrape the batter into 2 - 8" round cake pans that have been buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for about 25 minutes, until cakes are beginning to come away from the edges, are springy to the touch on top, and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 min before turning out and leaving to cool completely.
4. When ready to eat the cake, put one layer on a plate, right way up, spread with jam and scatter fruit on top. Spread a layer of whipped cream on top. Sit the other cake on top of the fruit and sift icing sugar on top.

Note: I actually did not use jam when I made this cake, although I'm sure that would be delicious. I just used a pound of chopped up strawberries that I mixed with some powdered sugar to sweeten. Using so many strawberries makes the cake a bit tricky to cut, but I think it's still worth it to have fresh strawberries and cream.

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