Need something sweet to accompany this week’s episode of the Great British Bake-Off? Seek comfort in the classics with Candice Brown’s Victoria sponge cake recipe, filled with deliciously sweet berries and lashings of fresh cream – the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of tea.
“A Victoria sponge is always a favourite. You can’t really go wrong with a light sponge, fresh fruit and fresh cream. The addition of a middle layer packed with fresh raspberries makes the cake look interesting when you cut into it and also adds a great flavour and texture. This cake is perfect for parties or sharing (I’ve not known anyone to eat a whole one… yet!).” – Candice Brown.
335g self-raising flour
335g unsalted butter, softened
335g golden caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
6 large eggs
grated zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
150g fresh raspberries
600ml double cream
500g fresh strawberries, hulled
icing sugar, to finish
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4). Grease three 25cm round, loose-bottomed sandwich tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Mix together until smooth, fluffy and combined. If using an electric mixer, mix on a medium speed and do not over mix.
3. Divide two-thirds of the mixture between two of the tins. Reserve five of the fresh raspberries for the decoration, then add the rest to the last third of the mixture and mix them through, crushing some of the raspberries as you go. Put this mixture into the third tin.
4. Place the three tins in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the sponges are risen and golden, and are slightly coming away from the edges (try not to open the oven before the 20 minutes are up). The raspberry sponge may need another 5 minutes. Remove the tins from the oven and turn out the sponges on to a wire rack. Leave to cool.
5.Whip the double cream thick enough to hold its shape – do not over whip. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
6. Reserve five of the strawberries for the decoration. Evenly slice the rest of the strawberries.
7. Pipe a layer of double cream on to one of the plain sponges. Top with a layer of sliced strawberries. Spread a small amount of cream on the underside of the raspberry sponge, then place it gently on top of the strawberries (the cream helps the sponges stick together).
8. Pipe a layer of double cream on the raspberry sponge and top this with the rest of the sliced strawberries. Spread a small amount of cream on the underside of the other plain sponge, then set this on top of the strawberries. Push down gently and check the layers are even.
9. Top with any leftover cream, the reserved strawberries, cut in half, and the reserved raspberries, then dust with icing sugar.
10. As this is sandwiched with fresh cream it is a good idea to eat it on the day it is made. It is a huge cake, so is best shared at a party as a fab centrepiece!
Don’t be afraid to vary the flavours for this. Try lime and raspberry, or in the autumn go for blackberry and apple. The basis of the sponge will never change but go nuts with the flavours and decoration.
Extracted from Comfort by Candice Brown
(Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Ellis Parrinder