Grandma’s sponge cake (attempt #1)

I’ve been working all summer in the restaurant of a National Trust place near me, and after 10 long weeks I just have two days left! It’s been one hell of an experience… just being in a commercial kitchen and learning how a restaurant runs. I’ve swept, mopped, counted stock, iced cakes, cleared tables, done dishes, served hot food, swatted wasps, sung musical numbers, made countless cups of tea and coffee and directed people to the toilets more times than you can shake a stick at. It just feels a bit weird to be leaving. I’m in desperate need of a proper rest, don’t get me wrong – but I sort of feel like now that I’m there and I know what I’m doing I should be staying until it closes in November! But I’ve got a week’s holiday to look forward to and then it’s not long ’til I’ll be back in the south-west for uni.

So, I wanted to bake something that felt vaguely appropriate for finishing my summer’s stint in a tearoom. Victoria Sponge is one of our bestselling cakes as you can imagine, and I’ve been thinking that I should give one a go. The recipe I used is actually my Grandma’s, and I was more than a bit intimidated to try it! She’s won countless country shows with it; it’s acquired a bit of a legendary status in the family. I emailed her a little while ago for advice, which I’ll pass on below with the recipe. She signed it off with ‘happy baking! remember it takes years of practice’. I was really happy with how this cake turned out for my first attempt, but I’m bearing that advice in mind! I’m sure it will be the first of many now that I’ve been brave enough to try it.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 4 eggs {at room temperature}
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Filling and decoration:

  • Strawberry jam
  • Double cream (150 ml was enough to put a thin layer between the sponges)
  • Icing sugar

Method:

{note before starting: this recipe requires a lot of beating – if you have a free-standing mixer you can just leave it to do its thing whilst measuring out the other ingredients. If you have to hold the mixer the whole time, it’s best to measure everything out first and do all the sifting before you start}
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (fan-forced). Grease and flour two circular tins, and put a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each one.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl; add the salt and beat for 5 minutes. 
Add the sugar and beat for 6-8 minutes.
Sift the flour and baking powder together {Grandma says to do this at least three times}
In a saucepan, boil the milk and add the butter so it melts. Keep this hot if possible whilst you fold the flour into the egg mixture.
Finally, add the milk/butter and stir it through gently. Don’t over-mix – you’ll lose all the air bubbles and you want them in a sponge cake!
Pour the cake mix into the two tins, and put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes. 
Remove from the oven when a skewer comes out clean and they’re golden on top. Run a knife round the edge and turn them upside down to cool on a wire rack.
When completely cool, put one on a serving plate. Pour the cream into a bowl and add a tbsp of icing sugar. Beat until it thickens and forms ‘soft peaks’. Spread a layer of jam on top of the cake followed by the cream, then put the second cake on top and dust with icing sugar. 
It was definitely a nice accompaniment to watch Bake Off last night! In other news, the lovely Lauren from Totally Typically has nominated me for a Liebster award, which I’m doing my best to write the answers to at the moment! Hope you’re all keeping well in this cold August weather! 😦
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