It’s Friday night and time for Friday Night Eighties on Nova Radio, my favourite night of the week. So it was Saturday morning and I got up early to go to the hairdressers to get a curly blow-dry to attend a wedding. Long story short, I thought the wedding was Friday, found out it was Saturday and we prepared to go. A second look at the invite and the wedding was a week away. So what is a girl to do with a curly blow-dry and nowhere to go? Put on the paint scrubs and begin work on the old kitchen table (will tell all at a later stage) and then make a victoria sponge and a Pavlova for my trip home to the family.
The victoria sponge is another classic and a thing of memories. It’s probably one of the first things I learned to make at the hand of my mother. It’s a particular favourite of my Dad and also my sister travelling from Houston, TX with baby Maeve would love the real butter flavour.
The Country Women’s Association tells us to weigh the eggs and the match the remaining ingredients of butter, caster sugar and plain flour with the weight. But I find they never vary much so I stick with my standard recipe as written below.
You can use a butter substitute if you have a dairy allergy but try and find one that is palm oil free. I won’t rant about it now but I will another time. I recommend adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract, as there will be no real butter flavour.
As far as I know the classic victoria sponge is sandwiched with jam and a vanilla buttercream. However, the butter-cream is news to me and we always made it with homemade raspberry jam in the centre and a liberal sprinkling of caster sugar on top.
Below is my family recipe for a victoria sandwich using real butter (Irish is the best and is as bright yellow as a too infrequent Irish sun).
8 oz butter
8 oz plain flour
8 oz caster sugar (granulated is fine too)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 8-inch tins with baking parchment on the bottom
Preheat oven to 160 degC fan oven, 180 degC conventional oven
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of flour and beat well.
- Beat in the remaining eggs, 1 at a time.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold in gently. (If the mixture is stiff add a wee drop of milk).
- Divide the mixture between two greased tins and put in the preheated oven.
- Cake can take anything between 20 and 30 minutes depending on your tins (thickness, depth, metal, silicone etc.) and your oven. My new oven takes just 20 minutes with my very light tins.
- Use a skewer or knife to test if the cake is done, it should come out clean when ready.
- Remove from the tin and allow to cool.
- Sandwich with raspberry jam, as little or as much as you like and sprinkle with caster sugar.
So it was not a glamorous finish to my curly blow-dry but a lot was achieved. What would you have done in my shoes?