Before I finalized my plans for this project, I was originally going to start at the very beginning. Finding that I had no easy way of watching the original 2 seasons, I ended up changing plans, but by that time, I’d already baked the first two recipes. This is the first, a challenge from Mary Berry for “Victoria Sandwich” aka Victoria Sponge.
It’s a simple 2 layer sponge cake, with buttercream icing and homemade raspberry jam, finished with confectioner’s sugar. Link to recipe.
For this recipe I didn’t require any new equipment. But I got some anyway: a set of nice 8″ round cake pans, and a set of cake pan strips, which help the cakes bake up with a nice flat top.
In this recipe we run into our first experiences with needing translate English to English. The recipe calls for “Self Rising flour”, which must be more common over there, as I couldn’t find any here. To recreate it, for every cup (120g) of flour, add 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Also, basically every kind of sugar has one name in the US and another in the UK: icing sugar = confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar; caster sugar may be known as baking sugar; and finally what Brits call jam sugar, we apparently call “gelling sugar”. I couldn’t find any gelling sugar, and substituted an equal amount of caster sugar, adding ⅛ teaspoon pectin and a pinch of citric acid. When I finally made the jam, it didn’t set as well as I would have liked; if I were to do it again, I’d bump the pectin up to ¼ teaspoon.
Finally, with all the terms deciphered, it was time to make it!
This wasn’t terribly difficult, if you’ve ever made a cake, jam, and buttercream, there are no big surprises.
The layers fell a little bit, next time I would cool them upside down.
As I mentioned earlier, the jam did not set as well as I would like. Next time, if the jam was still too liquid, I would pipe a circle of buttercream around the edge of the layer, to make a dam for the jam. In addition, the recipe made WAY too much jam, I’d cut the amount in half.
Once assembled, it was time to taste:
Unfortunately, neither S. nor I were very impressed by this cake. The sponge itself looked nice, and had a decent flavor, but was not sweet enough, and was dry and somewhat crumbly. This could have been saved by the jam, but the jam was overpoweringly sweet, especially with the buttercream and extra confectioner’s sugar on top.
All in all, I don’t think I’d make this again, without heavy modification. Kids verdict: well, it all got eaten, and not tossed in the bin, so let’s call it a “satisfactory”.