..and all things nice.
This week we celebrated our god-daughter's birthday and I figured a celebratory meal followed by a vanilla sponge with pink icing would do the trick for a girl who loves everything pink.
I didn't just want to make an ordinary Victoria Sponge, so I used a little trick that I have learned along the way. I added some fresh vanilla to the sponge mix and
whilst it was baking I used sugar, water and the emptied vanilla pod to make the sugar syrup to soak the cakes in once baked.
The best way to get the syrup on to the cakes is to use a pastry brush about 10 or so minutes after they come out of the oven. They need to still be warm, but not hot.
To get the best results I would advice you to bake the cake the day before, and wrap the soaked sponges in cling film and leave at room temperature overnight, otherwise bake it first thing in the morning and ice it as late as possible. It really does make a difference in giving the cake time to absorb all the syrup and letting it settle.
To assemble the cake, you can either just fill it with the buttercream or just jam, so NOT both as pictured above as you will find your cake does a little dance when you start cutting into it, as the cakes are pretty moist as a result of the sugar syrup. Personally I would recommend filling it with strawberry jam.
You don't have to ice it, but personally I think this icing just adds another dimension to this beauty of a cake. I just piped a few swirls to make it look a little more girly and pretty, but I will add here if you are making this dairy free then be warned Pure sunflower spread doesn't make the best buttercream and it can prove really difficult to work with.
As you can see the swirls are very sloppy, the product of dairy free spread. So be warned you might feel a little disgruntled that the piping doesn't quite give the results that you were hoping for. The problem lies in the fact that it needs to be handled in a piping bag and it therefore softens a great deal more than ordinary butter. My advice here is to make sure you put your icing in the fridge for a good few hours so it is as firm as dairy free butter ever will be.
This cake was, yes it is already all gone, delicious!!! It is really moist and I love the taste that the real vanilla brings to both the cake and the icing. One of the things I miss eating since learning that I am allergic to Casein (milk protein) is cream, yes good quality cream, Cornish clotted, double, you name it and a Victoria Sponge is always the one thing I might drool over or a good scone with jam and clotted cream (yum!). This however comes so close and in fact the majority of us preferred it and my be apt to say that it tickled us pink.
So here is the recipe for anyone interested. I have given gluten and dairy free ingredients, but you can simply substitute with normal self-raising flour and unsalted butter and I know you won't be disappointed.
200g Pure sunflower spread, softened
200g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour, sifted
Sugar Syrup Ingredients
100g caster sugar
The scraped vanilla pod
300g Pure sunflower, softened
360g Icing Sugar, sifted
Small amount of food colouring (optional)
Preheat the oven at 180C, then grease and line two sandwich tins (I used 18cm).
To make the sponge cream together the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten egg into the mixture, scraping the sides to ensure everything is mixed in. If the mixture starts to curdle slightly then add a little flour to bring it together again. I find that you can avoid the curdling by increasing the speed of your mixture when you start adding the eggs, if this doesn't work or you are doing it by hand then just add a little flour to stop the curdling. Slowly add the flour, again scraping the sides to ensure that everything is folded in.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins (I use a scale for this) and then pop then in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The bake time will depend on the size of sandwich tins you have used and your oven, so start checking sooner if you are using smaller tins.
Whilst the cakes are in the oven, make your syrup sponge by putting the water, sugar and scraped vanilla pod in a pan and by letting it slowly come to boil. I find this is better way to for all the sugar to dissolved. Once it has all dissolved let it bubble (on a low heat) for a couple of minutes just to get the flavour of the vanilla pod and then take it off the stove and let it cool slightly.
Once the cakes are baked, let them cool for 10 minutes and then brush on the syrup with a pastry brush, leaving them in the tins. Once the cakes have cooled completely, you can pop them out of the tins and wrap them in cling film and leave them at room temperature for the rest of the day or overnight.
To make the buttercream, just cream the butter and sifted icing sugar together and add the seeds of half a vanilla pod. If you are using food colouring add a few drops or a little paste at the end and mix in. If you are using Pure sunflower spread, I would put it in the fridge for a good few hours before you want to assemble the cake, but make sure you mix it thoroughly before using it. If you are using ordinary butter, I would just make the icing before you want to assemble the cake.
I do hope you enjoy making this and giving it a go, I know our household requested that I baked another last night when the last slice was scoffed, but I think for now I might need to assess December's plan.
I think it might be a good idea to start looking at doing some Christmas preparations every Friday, as not only can I do with a month of fasting before the feast begins, but it will also give me the opportunity to get a few things prepped and in the freezer in time for the big day. So if anyone is interested in joining in on Friday's under the usual Weekly Bake with Christmas food that can be popped in the freezer or chutneys or relish or cake, then please join in so we can all get a little inspiration for the festive season that is upon us. What are your thoughts on this??
Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments and well wishes on my previous post, I really love how supportive this little blogging community is and it makes me feel grateful for the gifts that we as humans have to be kind and caring, it truly is a gift. I am off to read some blogs as I am a little behind and then to finalise the last bits for my sale tonight.
Happy thanksgiving to everyone in the America and Canada!
Happy thanksgiving to everyone in the America and Canada!
Wishing you all a very enjoyable weekend.