Is it terribly shocking to admit, that I have never baked a Victoria Sponge? Nope, never.
Years of eating rather tasteless birthday cake sponges put me off somewhat. The indifference was compounded by the fact that celebrity chefs went on about it and baking books were not complete unless a Vic Sponge was included. I have to be honest and say that I was a little intimidated too, to bake such a revered British classic. One can read pages on the technical aspects of making a perfectly light and moist cake and that of course, thwarts any initial, feeble spark of interest.
It started with passionfruit, which were selling rather cheaply at the supermarket. I bought a fat bag of them and I knew I was going to be stirring a Lemon and Passionfruit Curd that afternoon. Couldn’t be easier, bung it all into a bowl over simmering water and let it emulsify and thicken. The curd, full of wonderful lemon-citrus tang, was complimented in equal part by the fruity hit of the passionfruit. The dark seeds peeking under a glossy sheen of curd made for pretty viewing too. It was sublime and the first taste had me reaching for a sliced bread to smother it on. When needs must people.
I was wondering how to make the most of the curd and turned to pals online; all exceptional bakers; on what to do with the curd. Obviously, the famous Victoria Sponge got quite a few mentions. I tentatively let it be known that I had never baked one. Cue lots of capital letters and question marks! Recipes were thrown in my direction and I was implored, scolded and urged in good hearted measure to give it a go.
So I turned to Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and tried her Victoria Sponge recipe. My natural laziness let me deviate to the path of least resistance and I opted for the food processor method, where everything is blitzed in the machine to make the batter. The cake suffered for it. Dense, it also erupted in the middle, like a volcano and so didn’t really meet any expectations. It was tasty to eat, but a Victoria Sponge it was not.
So the next day, I went for the traditional creaming, adding eggs and flour, slowly and alternately, poured the lemony, buttery batter into a waiting pan and smoothed it with prayers that it would turn out alright. And it did! Looking at the golden fat disc gave me such a sense of accomplishment and pleasure.
For the sandwich bit, I whipped up some double cream, folded in the curd and sandwiched the two halves of the cake. Next, I made a simple glaze of passionfruit juice and icing sugar and poured that on top.
Tasting the large chunk of cake, stabbed onto the end of my fork, I will say that I felt like slapping myself. To think that I had missed out on eating one of the loveliest cakes I have ever baked! The lemon infused, tender crumbed, moist but light sponge was perfectly partnered with with the smooth, tart and tangy curd and the passionfruit glaze added a subtle touch of fruitiness. The rest of the family concurred and the cake was demolished in two days. And I had another ‘must-try-sometime’ item happily struck off the list.
To all the foodie pals out there, you know who you are; I thank you.
To view and print recipes,
Click here for the Sponge