Our glimpse of an Indian summer was brief and it’s now the dark nights and bare trees leading into Winter. I love winter food, rich stews and warming soups. Heavy red wines and a shot of brandy in your hot chocolate after a chilly dog walk. The one thing that I will miss though is Summer baking, the abundance of British berries made for quick, light and easy sweet treats; scones with strawberry jam, humongous meringues stuffed with raspberries and cream. Lots and lots of cream. The one I’ll miss most is the Victoria sponge. The perfect cake for me as it’s so quick and has just 4 main ingredients all of which I have in the larder anyway. But rather than say goodbye to Victoria until next year I wondered about giving her a Winter makeover? Adding a little spice and swapping the sunny flavors of strawberry or raspberry for something a bit richer. So here’s a twist on that Summer classic, spiced autumn Victoria sponge..
Grease and line 2 loose bottom cake tins 7/8″ Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 180 degrees
Weigh 4 eggs then measure out an equal amount of self raising flour, golden caster sugar & butter
Cream together the softened butter & sugar until light – at least 5 minutes
Keep the mixer running adding 1 egg at a time along with a teaspoon of flour
Add the remaining flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon & a splash of milk. Fold to bring together.
Add half of the mixture to each tin & pop into the oven for 20/25 mins turning the tins after 15mins to stop the edges catching.
Once cooked leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack. It’s at this point I have to leave the house and come back after an hour, other wise I’ll try to build the cake with the sponges still warm and end up with a reservoir of cream where the cake should be.
The use an autumn fruit jam to spread on 1 side of both sponges. I like to use Hawkshead Relish Company’s Bramley and Bramble. A layer of whipped cream and then stack the 2 sponges together. Dust with icing sugar, decorate with blackberries. Serve with a mug of hot chocolate safe in the knowledge that you can hide the calories under cashmere until next Summer.