a few months ago i was lucky enough to take a magical week long vacation in my soul city, london, england with my best friend on this planet, my mom. we walked miles, saw all the sights, visited new places, discovered the utterly fabulous british sitcom miranda, bickered a few times, got almost lost everyday, cried maybe twice, and ate scrumptious food.
i am a self-professed anglophile. i think my mom passed this down to me and it became solidified when harry potter graced the world with its presence and i spent a semester in london during college. something i like as much as london? cake. my relationship is all love, no hate for cake. i truly appreciate the brit's dedication to having a spot of cake on any occasion, especially during afternoon tea.
when in london, i had what i think is the best cake of my life while dining at the luxurious fortnum & mason department store. to say it changed my life is dramatic but mostly true. cake changes lives.
because my mom is the light of my life and she is a fellow cake lover, i knew i had to gift us with the baking of a homemade victoria sponge cake for her birthday. with a recipe from mary berry, of the great british bake off fame, i was set to conquer the cake world! it was easy and turned out divine and i will now be making this cake at least once a year. please & thank you.
here is the recipe i used from mary berry (someone with this name was destined for baking success or to be a sweet cartoon character):
* some tips: if you don't know what caster sugar is (i didn't), it is just really fine sugar. if you don't know what self-rising flour is (i didn't) it is this. google for conversions! i used bonne maman raspberry jam because i would bath in the glory of its deliciousness if i could. make the whipped double cream. worth it.
4 free-range eggs
225g/8oz caster sugar, plus a little extra for dusting the finished cake
225g/8oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g/8oz baking spread, margarine or soft butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins
good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
whipped double cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins. (Use a piece of baking paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated then line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking paper.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and baking spread. Mix everything together until well combined with an electric hand mixer (you can also use a wooden spoon) but be careful not to over mix. Put a damp cloth under your bowl when you’re mixing to stop it moving around. The finished mixture should fall off a spoon easily.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins: this doesn’t need to be exact, but you can weigh the filled tins if you want to check. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don't be tempted to open the door while they're cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack. Set aside to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it with plenty of jam. If you want to, you can spread over whipped cream too. Top with the second cake, top-side up. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.