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|Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake||Posted by: Chi Anh | June 24, 2012|
Throwing a high tea party is fun. The cakes are just a bonus. The main fun lies in choosing the prettiest cake to bake to be the star of the party. Throwing a farewell high tea is not as fun though, but still a reason for me to find a gorgeous cake to bake to wish my girl (Giang) a smooth journey into her new chapter in another land. Before I get carried away being all mushy and sappy about farewells, let’s talk about the cake.
Isn’t it a beauty?
It was a classic British Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake. It is one of the best cakes I’ve made so far, and even though it contains cream (which I normally hate), the tangy lemon juice and fresh strawberries that cut through the cream filling are just the perfect accompaniment to the moist and airy sponge cake. It’s not exactly difficult to make, but for it to rise up beautifully and maintain its moist and lightness, you do need to master the techniques of creaming butter & sugar and folding flour gently to keep the air in! I also think that mixing a tablespoon of lightly beaten egg into the batter at a time seems to yield better results than beating whole eggs in one by one. The eggs distribute much better and hence help create more volume for the cake. I used the same trick with the Fairy Cakes and they turned out incredibly soft, moist and airy as well.
And of course, the strawberries are the true stars of this cake. Just look at them! I truly believe strawberries are a waste to be eaten alone, because they make such heavenly addition to desserts! Why doesn’t anyone say “strawberry on top” instead of “cherry on top”? Strawberry season is almost over in Vietnam, so I guess this cake was also a grand way of saying farewell to strawberries of this year. Sob. Please come back sooner next year!
Meanwhile, let’s enjoy them strawberries in a cake while they last…
Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake
(adapted from Jamie Oliver Magazine, Issue June 2012)
Before you bake:
*Prepare the filling:
Gently warm the jam in a saucepan over low heat, until it is saucy consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries, leave to cool completely. Just before assembling the cake, whip cream with sugar, vanilla seeds and juice of a lemon until soft peaks form.
1. Cream butter and sugar together in a big mixing bowl with a stand-mixer with paddle attachment (or handmixer). This step will make or break the cake so do it with much attention and “respect” for this magical union between butter and sugar: First beat the butter cubes at low speed until they look smooth and ‘plasticky’, then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time at medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently to mix well. Beat until the butter mixture is pale and fluffy (don’t beat too long or the butter will melt and the tiny air bubbles formed with the sugar grains will collapse). Mix in the vanilla extract.
2. Still at medium speed, mix in the eggs one tablespoon at a time, making sure it’s incorporated before adding the next spoon. Once finished, give the whole batter a quick whirl for a few seconds to make sure all is nicely incorporated (we want that egg to cover every single tiny butter-sugar bubble for more volume!).
3. Fold in the sifted flour gently only until just incorporated, to keep all that air in. Stir in a splash of milk to loosen the batter until it has a flowy consistency when dropped from a spoon. Divide evenly between 2 springform pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or golden brown on top (make sure the oven temperature is at 180C when you put the cakes in, and stays at 180C throughout, as this cake is sensitive to temperature variations!). Test the cake doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center, if it comes out clean it is ready.
4. Once the cakes are completely cooled, spread the strawberry jam mixture onto the “uglier” cake, spoon whipped cream on top, then cover with the remaining cake on top. Dust over with some icing sugar.
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