Victoria sponge, with a twist

At the weekend we had arranged to meet up with some of my school friends and their families. When we planned this a while ago, we thought a barbecue at one of their houses would be a nice idea for a summer’s Sunday afternoon. As July went on, this looked less and less likely, and there was talk of relocation to a family pub somewhere. However, in the end the sun came out for the weekend, and we managed to have our barbecue. I was put in charge of bringing pudding (more my thing than meat at the best of times, let alone when I’m really not liking the smell of cooking!), so I decided to whip up a quick and easy classic British cake on the Saturday morning before we left to head over to the Midlands.

My choice was the Victoria sponge. You can’t really go too wrong with it, and it’s not too sweet or stodgy, so just what I like at the moment. Once the cake bit of it was baked, I packed the two halves into a tin, as my plan was to do the jam and icing sugar bits the next day at my parents house where we were staying. We had lunch at my parents’ on Saturday, and what should Mum bring out for pudding…. but a Victoria sponge that she’d baked! It was complete with candles for my birthday – a lovely surprise being as I’d almost forgotten about my birthday this year as it’s crept up so quickly with me being so busy. So this weekend became the weekend of Victoria sponges πŸ™‚ Not a bad thing to have two of in my opinion. Mum had in fact put buttercream icing as well as jam in the middle, so not technically a classic Victoria sponge, rather one with a bit of a twist. As the jam she had was quite tart, not too sweet, the buttercream icing was a great complement to it, and I decided to make this addition to my cake for the Sunday too.

What I didn’t plan for was the hot weather on the Sunday! During the three-quarter hour car journey to our friends’ house at lunchtime, the two halves slid apart as the buttercream icing melted slightly and lost its grip on the jam in the sandwiched cake. When we arrived I had to do some patching up, but in the end, after a couple of hours in the cool kitchen, it didn’t look too bad. And it tasted good, that was the main thing!

OK, so not the most attractive cake I've ever baked, nor the most stunning photo of it, but I forgot to take a snap before the car melting incident, so this is how it looked after its cooling off period just before we ate it! The jam and buttercream are a bit messy, the icing sugar has gone into the top of the cake in patches, and the paper plate it's on looks awful. But it still tasted yummy, and that's the point of baking in my opinion.

Ingredients

  • 110g margarine
  • 110g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • jam for the filling
  • for the icing in the middle (optional): 75g margarine and 150g icing sugar
  • icing sugar to dust

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ΒΊC, and grease 2 medium round cake tins with margarine.
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar in a bowl together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and beat well until you have a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until well combined and smooth.
  5. Pour half the mixture into one cake tin and half into the other.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden and springy to touch.
  7. Let cool and remove from tins.
  8. Once cool, spread jam generously over one of the circles of cake.
  9. Mix the margarine and icing sugar for the icing together until you have a smooth paste. Spread the icing over the other cake, the one without the jam.
  10. Put the side with the jam onto the side with the icing to make a sandwich.
  11. Dust the top with icing sugar to finish.
  12. Store in cool place, especially if the weather is hotter than you’re used to!! Preferably just eat it though πŸ™‚