Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Champagne Victoria Sponge

Our June 2012 meeting was the day after the double bank holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so we thought it was only fair to thank our ma'am for the extra day off work by paying homage to her in baked form. When tasked with baking a cake to celebrate Britishness and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, for me it could only ever have been a Victoria Sponge. A special, spruced up for a party kind of Victoria Sponge. So I decided to sandwich some home made strawberry and champagne jam with some champagne flavoured butter cream in between two layers of deliciously light almond sponge.

I also entered this recipe into a couple of Jubilee baking competitions, and whilst I wasn't a prize winner in the Times' Jubilee Bake Off, I did get 1st prize in the Natural Selection Foods Jubilee Baking Competition

Strawberry and Champagne Jam

Ideally the jam should be made at least a day in advance so that it has time to set, however to save time it can be made in advance. The jam will keep in the fridge for 6-8 weeks (if it lasts that long!)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Makes two medium sized jars (around 400g)

300g fresh British strawberries
250g jam-making sugar (sugar with added pectin)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
100ml pink champagne
1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Place a heavy-based saucepan on the hob on the lowest heat. Wash, hull and chop the strawberries into small pieces, then add these to the pan with the sugar, butter and champagne. Gently stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, then leave the jam to cook on the lowest heat for a while, stirring regularly.
  2. Meanwhile, place a saucer into the freezer to use later when it come to test whether or not the jam will set.
  3. Once the jam begins to bubble and simmer, add the lemon juice. The liquid should have reduced and thickened slightly. After around 45 minutes, test the jam for set by taking your saucer from the freezer and dropping a teaspoon of jam onto it. After 30 seconds on the saucer the jam should be set - if not add a little more lemon juice and cook for a little longer.
  4. Once the jam is ready, remove from heat and pour into sterilised jars. Leave to cool completely before placing in the fridge to set overnight. Removed from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to allow the jam to return to room temperature.

Champagne Victoria Sponge

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Makes 18 slices

600g margarine
600g caster sugar
6 large free range eggs
50ml milk
A few drops of natural vanilla extract
600g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder

For the filling:
250g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
A few drops of champagne flavouring (to taste)
4-5 tbsp strawberry and champagne jam
Extra icing sugar for dusting.

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190 Degrees, and grease and line two 9" springform cake tins
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. In a small bowl or jug, beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and put to one side. Sift the flour, almonds and baking powder together into another bowl. Beat a third of the wet mixture into the butter and sugar, then fold in a third of the dry mixture. Continue in the order until all of the ingredients have combined to form a smooth batter. 
  3. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake-tins and level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk together until smooth and creamy, then add a little champagne flavouring at a time until you reach your desired taste. Put the butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star shaped nozzle, and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. Once the cakes have completely cooled, assemble the sponge. Place one of the sponge layers onto a serving plate, and spread the jam over this. Pipe the butter cream on top of the jam in swirls, and then place the second sponge gently on top of this. Dust the cake with icing sugar to finish.

Happy Thoughts

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