…Oozing with plenty of homemade strawberry jam and Chantilly Cream…
When it comes to summer cakes, you just can’t beat the basic (but beautiful) Victoria Sandwich. To paraphrase the famous glutton Mr Joeseph Tribbiani, what’s not to like? Cream, good! Jam, gooooood! It’s a classic; the kind of cake that’ll please everyone if you turn up with it at a picnic or at your Mum’s front door on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I mean you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like a plain sponge cake, sweet cream and strawberry jam. Better yet, it’s very easy to make – even if you’re a bit of a baking noob. The classic, base recipe involves weighing your eggs first, then matching up with the exact same quantities of butter, caster sugar and self raising flour – but I’ve experimented and come up with a slightly more refined recipe with a little added baking powder and buttermilk for a buttery, moist but airy sponge. Sandwiched with a layer of slightly runny homemade strawberry jam (easier to make than it sounds and absolutely worth the added effort) and some piped Chantilly Cream (fancy pants for double cream whipped with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla – yum yum), you just can’t go wrong. 🙂
Picnic Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake
For the cake:
- 175g butter (softened)
- 150g sugar
- 3 medium eggs, whisked
- 175g self raising flour (sifted)
- 70 ml buttermilk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the jam:
- 100g fresh strawberries (pitted)
- 100g jam sugar
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the Chantilly Cream:
- 200ml double cream
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- The night before baking, prepare your jam strawberries; remove the leaves, slice them and then pop them in a bowl. Sprinkle with caster sugar, then leave in the fridge overnight. Sounds odd, but while you’re at it, put a small plate in your freezer – it’ll come in handy later.
- Set the oven to 160C (Fan), and grease your baking tin of choice. (I like to use a deep, 10cm loose-bottomed tin and then slice the cake in half once it’s cooked. But two 20cm sandwich tins will work just as well.)
- Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the eggs.
- Stir in the sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold in the buttermilk.
- Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for around 40 minutes if you’re using a deep tin, and 25 minutes if you’re using sandwich tins – either way, an inserted skewer or knife should come out clean.
- Once the cake is cooked, leave it to cool. Meanwhile, start making the jam; pop your juicy, pre-prepared strawbs in a saucepan and then either blitz them with a hand-held blender, or mash them. Add the jam sugar and lemon juice to the saucepan, and then gently heat the mixture on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Resist stirring!
- Turn the heat up to a roaring boil and leave the jam to bubble for up to 10 minutes. Remember that plate in the freezer? That’s going to give you a helping hand in working out when your jam has cooked. Every couple of minutes, take a small teaspoon of jam and drizzle it onto the ice cold plate – when you turn the plate vertically, if the jam runs then it’s not quite done. If it sticks in a blob and doesn’t seem in any hurry to go anywhere, then it’s ready! If like me you prefer your jam a little runnier, take it off the heat when it runs slightly, then sets on the plate. Once you’ve reached that stage and the jam is cooked, take the saucepan off the heat and pour it into a ready sterilized jar to cool and set.
- Once both the cake and the jam have cooled, you can whip up your Chantilly Cream – which is as simple as throwing the cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste into a bowl and then whisking them together until thick and airy.
- To assemble the cake, sandwich the two halves with a layer of jam and a layer of Chantilly Cream – then decorate with some extra cream, icing sugar and fresh strawberries.
Have a lovely week! 🙂