Victoria sponge by Ashley, the Queen of Cake

We’ve tried a lot of different cake this week, but Ashley’s Victoria sponge reigns triumphant. Stick to her rules, and it’ll be a cake walk.

Ingredients

Sponge
8oz plain white flour
8oz salted butter, very soft
8oz caster sugar
4 eggs (medium/large)
1 tsp heaped baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence!)

Filling
1/4 pt double cream
Raspberry jam
Raspberries, blueberries and a sprig of mint for garnish
Icing sugar for dusting

Kenwood mixer, balloon whisk
2 x 8 inch circular cake tins

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C on a conventional oven setting (not fan – this dries out the cake) and line the tins with parchment paper and grease generously with butter if your tins are not non-stick.

  1. Beat the soft butter on high in the Kenwood mixer until it’s very pale. Keep going even when you think it’s done… around 5 mins should do it
  2. Next add the sugar (slow down the beater or else the sugar will go everywhere), then continue to beat on high until it turns the colour of milk and is quite fluffy, pausing occasionally to push the mixture back down from the sides. Again, hold your nerve – 5 mins at least
  3. Adding one egg at a time, beat until the mixture is no longer glossy before adding the next. If at any point it looks like it might curdle, add a tablespoon of the flour, but don’t panic, it’s not a disaster if it does
  4. Sieve the flour and baking powder together, then fold into the mixture with a plastic spatula, trying to mix it without knocking too much air out
  5. Divide mixture evenly between the two tins and make a slight indent in the centre of each
  6. Bake for 25-30 mins (peer through the door if you can… do not be tempted to open the oven door before 25 mins!). The sponge is ready when a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake
  7. Keep the cake in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Don’t put it near an open window as a crust might form
  8. When cool – this can take around 45 mins – spread a good dollop of jam over one sponge. Whip the cream until it holds its shape but is not too stiff and spread on top. If you want to be fancy, arrange some raspberries around the outside of the sponge. Then add the second sponge
  9. Arrange some raspberries and strawberries in the middle of the cake (but remember this makes it a bit of a mare to cut), then dust with icing sugar just before serving

Tadah!

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