Saturday, 6 April 2013

Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake

As a young girl, if reading were one of your interests, I have no doubt that Jane Austen and her novels would have figured prominently in your reading list. And one of her most memorable books would be 'Pride and Prejudice'. You realise the enduring appeal of her books, when it comes to light that this year would mark two hundred years(!) since 'Pride and Prejudice' was first published.
 
It is a testament to the allure of Jane Austen's writing that two hundred years after she published her work, its plot and characters, set in 19th century English society, would not only stand the test of time but also find a certain resonance in today's society, even in 21st century India.
 
 
Most young women would identify with 'Elizabeth Bennet', one of the main protagonists of the book. She is intelligent, sensible, witty, not given to frivolous and vacuous considerations, has a mind of her own, is not afraid of voicing her opinion even if goes against the accepted norms of society and marriage is not the only goal of her life. I told you, she could be one of us!!
 
And then, there was 'Mr.Darcy'! If you ask me, he is the real reason why women will always love this book. In equal measure, he would be handsome and haughty, intelligent and proud, rich and modest, aloof and generous, arrogant and chivalrous as the plot progressed. But his appeal, I believe, would lie in the fact, that he wasn't intimidated by Elizabeth Bennet's wit and intelligence but admired her for it and the very reason for his attraction towards her. Did I just hear a rueful sigh from every intelligent woman out there??


They say, Elizabeth Bennet would be the one character closest in nature to Jane Austen. I then believe, she created the character of Mr.Darcy as the man she was looking for but never found. 
 
This book would show Jane Austen not only as a keen observer of the society she lived in but would reveal her understanding of the nuances and subtleties that define relationships. And therein lies the inherent strength and appeal of her books!
 
 
And this Victoria sponge cake would have found itself both in Mr. Darcy's Pemberley as well as the more modest Bennet home of Longbourn. Much like the book, this cake is a baking classic. A traditional, English, tea-time treat, it is essentially two sponge cakes that sandwich a layer of jam and cream.

The cake is one of the easiest to make. And this recipe by British food legend, Mary Berry, guarantees a perfect result. The sponge cakes rise well and have that quintessential buttery taste that is expected of them. I urge you to use a good quality jam. I went with a homemade strawberry jam that I had made a few weeks back. It made all the difference. The freshness of the jam, where you can taste the fruit helps the flavour profile of the cake, which would otherwise have been just sugar and butter.
 
 
There's a reason why some things become classics. Their appeal endures the passage of time, much like this cake and the book!
 
Thank you Jane Austen! Two hundred years on, Mr. Darcy's appeal hasn't waned and neither has the appeal of your books!!

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Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake

Recipe, mildly adapted from  Mary Berry's recipe on the BBC website.

serves 10-12 people

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 gms caster sugar
  • 225 gms self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 225 gms softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Strawberry jam (recipe given below)
  • Whipped double cream (optional)
Cooking Directions
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C.
  • Grease and line two 8-inch baking tins.
  • In a bowl, break the eggs and lightly whisk with the vanilla extract.
  • Add the sugar, butter, flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix together until well combined. I used my hand blender for the purpose.
  • The finished mixture should have a dropping consistency - it should fall off a spoon. Do not over mix. If the mixture seems too dry, then you might add up to 2 tablespoons of milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Divide the mixture equally between the two tins. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top of the cakes.
  • Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes. 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 touch.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. After 15 minutes, when they are room temperature, remove the cakes from their tins and let them cool completely.
  • To assemble the cakes, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it with a layer of jam. I also a spread a thin layer of whipped cream.
  • Top with the second cake, top-side up, Sprinkle over the caster sugar.
Strawberry Jam

Recipe from Tarla Dalal

Ingredients
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  • Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and allow it to rest for a while.
  • Mash lightly and cook in a saucepan over a slow flame till the mixture is syrupy. I like to leave some strawberries as chunks, gives the jam some character!
  • Cool completely, add the lemon juice and store refrigerated in a clean bottle.

24 comments:

  1. I'm watching Pride & Prejudice right now! Great cake!

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    1. Then I wish I could send some cake over to go with it.. :))

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  2. I read most of Jane Austin's work and still go back to them! We had a few chapters from Pride & Prejudice in our English textbooks to study.
    The cake looks good (like most of ur bakes) but the strawberry jam bottle caught my attention especially the line 'Homemade in India'

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    1. Oh Jane Austen's books are classics.. I can never tire of reading them!! the jam label is cheesy.. but I kinda liked it.. used the same one for my orange marmalade too!!

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  3. What a post!! I love Jane Austin's works and pride and prejudice is my favourite. I could read the book again and again. This Victoria sponge looks like it is worth dying for. :)

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    1. Thanks Nandita!! No wonder P&P is a classic.. you can read it again and again.. and still read something new that will make you smile when you see what Austen has written about, still applies to society today.

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  4. your sponge cake is beautiful! looks delicious.

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  5. Your Victoria sponge looks absolutely perfect!

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  6. Your sponge looks absolutely delicious. I love the shot with all that squidging jam :-)

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    1. thanks!! :)) Its one of my favourite too!

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  7. Wow.. what wonderful loaf and pictures. I am totally hooked to your page !! Followed and Liked on FB..

    looking forward to spend an hour after dinner hopping on various recipes you have :)

    Nupur
    UK Rasoi

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    1. Hey!! Thanks Nupur.. really appreciate your message... makes me feel I must be doing something right!! Heading over to your blog right now.. :))

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  8. Hello Saravani, did I tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts :) I love pride and prjudice and I couldn't agree more with your analysis of Elizabith and Mr Darcy.
    I love your choice of cake to go with the 200th anniversary of the book, some things stand the test of time for a reason

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    1. Aww.. thank you so much Sawsan!! This post of mine has particularly been popular with the girls! :))

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  9. Wow this is such a great cake recipe baker in disguise! Me and the girls made this on the weekend..

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    1. Really.. that's soo cool!! am soo glad you enjoyed it!!!

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  10. You made me want to reread the book :). I love the cake decoration, how clever!

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    1. :) Thanks Alina.. that's me trying to be creative!! :))

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  11. Looove Mr. Darcy and love the stencil work on the cake! Beautiful post :)

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    1. Thanks Irene!! This post has really been popular with the ladies.. like I said Mr. Darcy remains as popular as ever!! Drop by again!!

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