Mr Colonial Cravings and myself have been back in our little Gloucestershire terraced house for just over a month now. We’re more or less unpacked and the bulk of the re-decorating is done with but we’ve been a little bit slow to sort out things […]
BIRTHDAY! Birthday, birthday, birthday! Hurrah for me! I’m probably at the age where I should be dreading birthdays and worrying about entering a different age bracket on surveys, but the thing is…I REALLY like cake. Is it weird to get excited about making your own […]
A well made classic Victoria Sponge is a thing of beauty, although I have to confess that I do always have to have cream or buttercream in my filling (sorry Women’s Institute).
It’s all about the texture. It should be light and springy with a nice even crumb so be careful that you don’t over beat the batter. In a traditional Victoria Sponge you also rely solely on the quality of your ingredients for the flavour so I always use real butter rather than baking margarine and I always try to find fresh free-range eggs. I only ever use free-range anyway but if you can get locally reared ones then 9 times out of 10 they’ll be richer than anything you buy in the supermarkets. They’ll also give your sponge great colour.
I find that I get the best results when I let all of my ingredients get up to room temperature before I start.
American self-rising flour does seem to be a tiny bit different to U.K self-raising flour but this recipe should work fine with both.
If you want to make the classic Victoria Sponge then just leave out the orange zest from the sponge, sandwich it together with good quality jam (usually strawberry or raspberry) and dust the top with a little sugar.
the weight of the eggs (inc shells) in butter, sugar and self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
zest of 1 orange
70g ish cranberries (mine were frozen)
juice of 1 orange
Swiss meringue buttercream
1 egg white
70g butter (room temperature and cut into small pieces)
zest of 1 orange
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease two sandwich tins. Place a disc of baking parchment in the base of each.
Weigh your eggs, in their shells so that you know how much flour, butter and sugar you’ll need.
Sift together the baking powder and flour a couple of times and set it aside. This will get plenty of air into it.
Using a hand or stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale, thick and fluffy, this should take a minute or two.
Lightly beat each egg and mix them, one at a time, into the butter and sugar. Follow each addition with a spoonful of the flour and beat it well. Once you have added all of the eggs briefly beat in the orange zest. Sift the remaining flour into the batter in two batches and carefully fold it in.
Finally stir in the milk to loosen the mixture to a nice soft dropping consistency. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared tins (I actually weigh mine) and level off the tops. Bake them in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door during this time as you might cause them to sink in the middle. Once the time is up open the oven door and test that the sponges are cooked with a skewer. Give them another minute or two if it doesn’t come out clean. They should feel light and springy once they are cooked.
Put the cooked sponges on a wire rack and let them cool in the tins for five minutes then turn them out on the rack and carefully remove the greaseproof paper. Let them become completely cool before you fill them.
Make the compote by combining the sugar, cranberries and the juice of the orange in a small saucepan. Pop this over a moderate heat and let it gently bubble away for a few minutes. Mash the berries a bit to release their juice, but be careful as they tend to pop and you don’t want them to splatter you with hot juice. Once the juice is thick and syrupy you can leave the compote to cool and become a bit jammy.
Swiss Meringue buttercream is next on your to-do list. Put the egg white and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Gently whisk it to keep it moving whilst it heats, it needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Remove the pan from the heat and then whisk the egg white until it is stiff (like meringue) and cool. An electric mixer makes this pretty quick and easy. Once it is cool you can slowly beat in the butter, one small piece at a time. If the mixture is too warm then the butter will simply melt so make sure it’s cool before you start. You can pop it in the fridge for a few minutes if you need to. Continue to whip the buttercream until it has emulsified and become smooth and creamy and then mix through the orange zest.
Decide which of your cakes is the least pretty and place it, upside-down, on a serving plate. Spread the cold cranberry compote onto it and the follow this with the orange Swiss meringue buttercream. I prefer to pipe this but to be honest it isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to the way it tastes!
Carefully place on the top layer of cake and then sprinkle it with a little icing sugar as a finishing touch.
These yummy treats have a lovely rich, slightly sticky, moist sponge sitting underneath that swirl of thick, creamy, fluffy buttercream. I’m a sucker for malt and chocolate together and the subtle background of coffee really brings them together nicely. Because the sponge is made with […]
I was looking back through some of my older recipes recently and came across my yummy green tea and lemon Swiss roll, https://coriandercooks.com/2014/01/17/green-tea-and-lemon-swiss-roll/. I’ve been seeing matcha used in a lot of recipes of late so I though I might have another bash at baking with it.
I’ll be honest, I only really chose to pair coconut with the matcha because I had half a can of coconut milk sitting in my fridge left over from the previous nights laksa. I’m really pleased that I did though because the creamy coconut goes so well with the sweet, slightly earthy taste of the fluffy matcha sponge cake. They’re so pretty too, the pure white frosting looks great against the almost avocado coloured sponge.
Makes 12 fairy cake size cupcakes or probably about 8 big ones
120g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
120ml coconut milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp matcha powder
2 tbsp coconut cream (you can also use the thickened part that rises to the top of canned coconut milk)
70g softened butter
135g icing sugar
toasted coconut flakes to decorate
Preheat the oven to 190°c and line a cupcake tin with wrappers.
Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt and butter and beat it all together until it looks like bread crumbs.
Use a tablespoon of the coconut milk to make the matcha powder into a paste and set this aside for a moment. Whisk together the remaining coconut milk and the egg in a separate jug and then incorporate the paste into this. Make sure that it is really well blended.
Gradually beat this into the dry ingredients using an electric mixer and then continue to beat for a further minute or two.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the cupcake wrappers and bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes.
Once they are well risen, cooked through and lightly browned you can leave them to cool on a wire rack.
To make the coconut frosting simply beat together all of the ingredients until you have a thick fluffy frosting. Pipe or spread this on top of the cupcakes before finishing them with a sprinkle of toasted coconut shavings.
I still can’t quite get on board with the St Patrick’s day festivities that occur on this side of the pond (so much green!) I think that I may have been scarred by my experiences back home in Cheltenham where it usually coincides with the biggest racing meet of the year. This generally means that most Cheltonians become hermits for the week rather than battle with the crowds and traffic in the town.
I do however like to have the excuse to make cupcakes, so here is my offering this year.
Don’t be put off making these if you aren’t the worlds biggest stout fan, you can’t really taste it. What it does do is add a real richness and depth to the chocolate sponge. It also makes them incredibly light and fluffy. At least I assume that it’s the Guinness because these are far lighter than any other sponge that I’ve made before and in case you couldn’t guess I’ve baked a lot of cake in my time! The butter-cream frosting is pretty much what you’d expect it to be, sweet, creamy and just a tiny bit boozy. Nothing wrong with that.
makes 18 ish (enough for everyone!)
80g butter (soft)
200g dark brown sugar
80g white sugar
40g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Irish cream frosting
400g icing sugar
100ml Irish cream liqueur (there’s no point being stingy is there?)
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a cupcake tin with liners.
Beat together the sugars and butter in a large mixing bowl before sifting in the dry ingredients. Beat this again to ensure that everything is well combined. It will look very dry and a bit like bread crumbs at this point, don’t worry, it’s meant to look like that!
Whisk together the stout, milk and eggs in a jug and then add about 1/4 of it to the dry mixture and beat it in. Repeat this until all of the liquid has been incorporated and you have a smooth, well mixed batter.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and bake for around 18 minutes. The little cakes should have risen and feel springy once they are done. They should also be wonderfully light. If you have to bake them in a couple of batches then keep any remaining batter cool in the fridge.
Remove them from the tin and leave the little sponges to cool on a wire rack whilst you whip up the butter-cream frosting.
Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add in the icing sugar and the Irish cream. Stir a few times to prevent an icing sugar dust cloud forming and then beat with a hand-held electric mixture until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread this onto the cold cupcakes. Complete the cliché with green sprinkles if you like.
These have been requested by my friend Vix. They are something that I made for my wedding and they were very popular (dibs were definitely called on the leftovers before that cake was even cut!). As this weekend is my second wedding anniversary it […]