29 September 2013

The Fundamentals; Victoria Sponge


Eve 29/09/13



Yes, I know it doesn't look that impressive but wait until you see the inside...



Today's post is a fundamental post, how to make the best Victoria sponge and learn about the different types of sponge!
I have memories of biscuit like Victoria sponge sandwiched together with overly sweet, 10% fruit jam, how disgusting! I have tried different types of cake to make the ultimate Victoria sponge. I used to make my cake by the same recipe every time; 125g of butter, sugar and flour and 2 eggs but I have now fallen in love with a new method...



...weigh the eggs first and then weigh out the rest of the ingredient to the same weight of the eggs. This gives a moist sponge every time
Look at that slice, heaven on a plate, right?



There are a few main sponge/ cake batters which form most of the cakes we see today. Here they are;

Butter Cake - This type of cake normally has butter or some type of fat as one of there main ingredients. It is normally made using the creaming method; cream together the fat and sugar and then add the rest of the ingredients. Butter cakes usually have a light, soft, tender crumb and have a buttery richness.
Sponge/ whisked cake - This cake is normally made with little or no added fat to the batter. Also, It has no added raising agent either so the cake relies on the air getting whisked into it. The beginning of the process starts with whole eggs (or sometimes just egg whites) and sugar. The eggs and sugar are whisked at a very high speed until thick and mousse like. Flour is folded in gently. The cake is them baked. You used this cake as a base for Swiss rolls or a cake with a very rich filling.
Genoise cake - This cake is made almost the same way as a sponge cake except the eggs and sugar are mixed over a pan of simmering water to slightly cook the egg and add even more air. Genoise cake is often liberally covered in a flavoured sugar syrup to add moistness and flavour.
Chiffon cake - This cake is a cross between a sponge cake and a butter cake. The eggs and sugar are whisked at a high speed before the addition of vegetable oil and a raising agent.



OK, science talk over, back to the cake...

This is such a easy recipe which is so versatile too. Take out some flour and add some cocoa powder and boom! Chocolate cake. Add 1/2 tbsp. coffee granules and ka-pow! Coffee cake. I love simple recipes which you can change to suit yourself. How many flavour combos can you think of? Right now, I have got 5 in my head and guess what?

(What?)

I can make them ALL into this cake!
Yum central!



Now, how to tell when a cake is done...
Test 1 - Does it looked cooked? 
Such a simple question but sometimes, this can be the easiest and quickest way. As you know, brownies are fudgy, dense and gooey so there is no point sticking a skewer into it. If you bake cookies until they look cook, they would be like hockey pucks. When you take cookies out of the oven, they look and feel very under cooked but hey harden and set while cooling.
Test 2 - Does the skewer come out clean?
When testing cakes, insert a wooden or metal skewer into the centre of the cake. If it come out clean with no crumbs, great! Your cake is cooked
Test 3 - Pulling away?
You can tell if some cakes are cooked by seeing if the cake has pulled away from the side of the tin. Don't use this method by itself though, I recommend using a skewer too. 
Test 4 - Is it springy?
Gently push down the top of the cake, if it springs back, perfect!


Pulling away?
Springy?


Recipe time!



Victoria Sponge
Makes 1 18cm cake
Ingredients
  • 110g Really soft butter
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • 2 Medium sized eggs - my eggs weighed 108g 
  • 110g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • Icing sugar, to finsh
Filling
  • 5 tbsp. Good quality strawberry, raspberry jam or a mix of both
  • Freshly whipped cream - optional
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 170c fan/ gas mark 4 and grease, line and flour two 18cm sandwich tins.
  2. In the bowl of a free-standing mixer or using a hand held mixer or wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar until very white in colour and fluffy.
  3. Add 1 egg and half of the flour and beat lightly until combined. Add the second egg and the rest of flour with 2 tbsp. warm water. Beat until combined.
  4. Divide equally into the two tins and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Mine were baked in 16 minutes.
  5. Once baked, leave in their tins for 30 seconds and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the filling, put the jam into a bowl and beat with a spoon to loosen it so it is easier to spread. Spread the jam on top of one of the sponges, leaving a 1 cm border around the edge of the cake.
  7. If using cream, spread on to the other sponge. 
  8. Sandwich together the two sponges and dust with icing sugar.

Enjoy!

The cake should be kept at room temperate in an air-tight container for a maximum of 3 days.





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