I love my job, not only do I get to be surrounded by all things sweet and sugary, I also get to meet some fabulous and extremely talented people, and I’m lucky to call some my friends!
The wedding industry can be a funny old place; it’s organised chaos and everyone pitching in, but it can also be a quiet and solitary place, especially when you’re working on a cake until all hours of the morning. Whilst I thrive on the manic spring and summer wedding season, as the madness calms down it’s nice sit down and grab a coffee with friends.
As November arrived, it heralded the start of a week off for me, which quickly filled up with things to do and people to visit; with one important big date in the diary catching up with the amazing Mr Chris Fordham of Fordham Hair Design.
I have ‘worked’ with Chris on quite a few weddings now, but as he is always with the Bride on the morning, and I’m busy setting cakes up, we never see each other. I met Chris through another fabulously talented wedding lady, Clare Bryce of Pure Pampering, who made me look amazing on my wedding day last year. Ever since, I’ve had a complete wedding crush on Chris and his work. Whenever he pops photos up on Facebook, my finger doesn’t hesitate long over the ‘like’ button. So after so long you can imagine that I was bursting with excitement to finally sit down and have a good old natter about life, weddings, hair and of course cake!
I thought for morning coffee, and because I’d squeezed in a little last minute order, that I’d create something classic and timeless, just like Chris’ styling artistry. I’d grabbed some raspberries when I was out and about, and there was raspberry preserve leftover from the white chocolate scones, so a Raspberry Victoria it was. And, just like Professor Albus Dumbledore, I’m a raspberry jam fan especially when it comes to Victorias. I think the tartness of the fruit cuts through the sweetness of the vanilla sponge and buttercream, more than strawberries.
For the decoration, I wanted to do something quick but with a little wow, and just filled the layers with the preserve, but frosted the outside of the cake with the buttercream. The fresh raspberries stood pointy end up on the top, was perfect. And do you know, for something that took just under 2 hours to create, I was a little impressed with myself.
With time not being on my side, I left the cake to cool for 20 minutes, jumped in the shower, then split and separated the layer to cool for another 10 minutes. Of course, If I’d had a little more time to spare, I’d have left the cake to completely cool before splitting and filling.
Now the recipe I use for my Victoria sponges is nothing fancy, it’s just tried and tested over generations passed from Grandmother to Granddaughter, and was the first cake my Granny Violet taught my Brother and I to bake. It holds strong memories of us in her kitchen scrapping the bowl out, fighting over the whisk beaters and slathering it in fresh cream and strawberry jam. Ah, those were the days.
We used to bake the cake in sandwich tins, and I would have done if I could have found my 6 inch pans. It never lasted long and I remember my Dad coming home for lunch and tucking into a slice with a cuppa before heading back to work. That seems such a strange concept now, we all eat at our desks, but Dad would come always come home from the family garage business at lunchtime. As I said this cake holds so many memories…
And with that I suppose I best show you the recipe!
Raspberry Victoria Sponge Cake
Yield 1 x 6 inch round
A modern design for the classic Victoria sponge cake, decorated with fresh raspberries and filled with raspberry preserve.
For the Cake
- 150g Unsalted butter
- 150g Caster sugar
- 3 Eggs, medium
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 200g Self-raising flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
For the Buttercream
- 150g Unsalted Butter
- 300g Icing sugar
- 2 tbsp Whole milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
To Fill and Decorate
- Raspberry Preserve or jam
- Raspberries, fresh
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 180C or 160C (fan).
- Line a 6 inch cake tin with baking parchment, or three individual 6 inch sandwich tins.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until softened. Alternatively, you can make the cake batter, in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk.
- Add the caster sugar to the softened butter and cream until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture. Beat well between adding each egg.
- Add the vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together, and add to the mixture. Gently mix together until the cake batter is soft and smooth.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown or a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
For the Buttercream
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of whole milk. Beat until smooth.
- Add the remaining icing sugar, milk, vanilla bean paste and beat until smooth.
- If the buttercream is too stiff, add a tbsp of whole milk and beat until smooth.
Assembling the Cake
- Using a large serrate knife, level the top of the cake and spilt horizontally into 3 layer of equal thickness.
- Turn the cake upside down, so the levelled top is now the bottom. Fix the 'bottom' layer to a 6 inch cake board with a little of the buttercream.
- Using a palette knife, spread about 2 tablespoons of raspberry preserve evenly across the layer, place the middle layer on top, and repeat.
- Top the cake with the final layer, and spread the buttercream on the top an the sides of the cake. Use a palette knife or cake side scrapper to take off the excess buttercream and give a smooth finish.
- Chill the frosted cake for 15 minutes in the fridge, to allow the layer of buttercream to firm up.
- Add another layer of buttercream to the top and sides of the cake, and remove the excess.
- Place the raspberries, pointy end up, over the top of the cake and dust with icing sugar and a sprig of fresh mint.
Raspberry or strawberry are classic Victoria sponge fillings, but feel free to use your favourite preserve or jam.
The cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days, or can be frozen, without the fresh raspberries, for 1 month.