Bridal Shower Victoria Sponge

Last night, after a mmm mmm good meal of parmesan encrusted tilapia, mashed spuds and asparagus my sister Patti and I did our first test run of the Victoria Sponge cake that we want to make for my bridal shower in April.  We found the recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking (which, by the way, is completely worth buying or at least checking out from the library).  Sponge cake is very versatile, and holds a much lighter flavor then the traditional yellow cake that it resembles, making it an all- seasons cake of sorts, very appropriate when trying for a lighter end to a heavier meal, or a light finish to a light meal.  Not to mention, taste aside, it just looks damn pretty sitting there on the table!

To be honest, I’m pretty much sold on any dessert that uses homemade, unsweetened whipped cream.  Growing up, our dad baked frequently and always made real whipped cream on pudding, or cobbler.  Cool Whip didnt factor into my life, except when I was at my grandparents, and even then I was so used to the real deal that Cool Whip was some horrible, cheap imitation of the real thing, a kind of bizarre dairy monstrosity ( I admit that now, occasionally, Jason will buy Cool Whip and I like eating a spoonful of it as dessert itself, shhhhh).  The whipped cream in this sponge cake completely and udderly (hah! milk joke) makes it.  Not to sound over zealous, but this cake is absolutely lovely, and you wont want to stop eating it, even if you promise yourself ( in front of three witnesses) that you’re only going to have one slice.  You can use seasonal berries, or if you’re like us and crave raspberries and the like all year-round you can go to Krogers and buy the imported berries ( I really recommend raspberries).  One other thought we had in regards to the fruit filling was that peaches preserved ( not commercially canned) in their own juices would be uber tasty.

The only thing that would have made this dessert any better (if thats possible, which Im not really sure it is)  is if we had done some sort of liquered up coffee drink to go with it, oh well, next time!

VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE

*from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess*

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cup self-rising cake flour

2 tablespoons corn starch

4 tablespoons milk

Approx. 1 cup Jam, whatever kind you desire

Heavy whipping cream, for whipped cream

Approx. 2 cups of whatever fresh fruit you desire

*  Patti and I didn’t have self-rising cake flour, so we made it ourselves.  For every cup of flour used, add 1 ½ tsp of baking powder and a ½ tsp of salt. Sift the mixture and use as self-rising cake flour! *

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour between each egg.  You will have leftover flour; fold this in with the cornstarch.
  4. Add enough of the milk to create a soft mixture that is more like cake batter then cookie dough (we used about 3 tablespoons and it worked just fine).
  5. Pour batter into two 8” round cake pans that have been buttered and floured. Bake for about 25 minutes (the cake should be springy, and a toothpick in the middle should come out clean).
  6. Let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their pans.
  7. Beat heavy whipping cream in a cold bowl for approximately 3 minutes, until you have a thick, pretty stiff whipped cream.  You don’t want butter, but you do want it to be thick and not runny.  If you are so inclined you can add a tsp of vanilla and a tbsp of sugar to the cream before beating it.
  8. When cool, spread an ample amount of jam on the top (right way up) of one cake.  Place a layer of fruit on top of the jam.  Next, spread a thick layer of whipped cream on top of the fruit.  Sit the other cake on top and sprinkle the top of it with about a tablespoon of granulated sugar.
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