With exams fast-approaching and revision slowly taking over my every hour, I have neglected this eclectic blog posting – Have no fear, I have many exciting posts planned post-exam!
However, on the topic of exam stress, I have found baking to be a useful therapy. It makes for a nice distraction to seven hour chunks of revision. Taking half an hour to whizz up some batter, fifty minutes revision, ten minutes to decant/ice and a tasty study snack as a reward. Granted, I have had to balance all this with early morning gym sessions and evening swims. But interpersing my revision with some carefree baking has been a godsend. So here is a quick and simple recipe I can wholeheartedly recommend should you too be revising, very busy or just want a carefree, enjoyable activity to offset your day!
A Good Ol’ Classic Victoria Sponge!
For this cake, I followed a simple Victoria sponge recipe. I jazzed things up by turning it into a marble cake. This is really simple: I separated the batter in half and added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a glob of golden syrup to one, and a dash of vanilla extract to the other. I spooned each mixture alternately into the two circular loose-bottomed (ay-ay) tins, and did a rough feathering.
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g butter (leave out for about ten minutes before measuring)
- 200g sifted self-raising flour
- 4 softly beaten eggs
- 1 TEAspoon of baking powder
- 2 TABLEspoons of milk
Optional: (for marble cake)
- Drop of vanilla extract
- Glob of golden syrup
- Tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 140g sifted icing sugar
- 100g softened butter
- Drop of vanilla extract
- Some jam for the filling (or your preference – lemon curd works equally as well!)
- Preheat oven to gas mark 5 or 170 Celsius. Butter two sandwich tins (I use 20cm loose-bottomed ones). Line with baking paper is desired but personally baking paper and I aren’t friends.
- Using your largest bowl, whisk together the caster sugar and eggs. Then add the flour, baking powder, milk until you have a smooth batter. Be careful not too over-whisk, as the eggs will separate slightly.
- If you are after a marble sponge, separate half of the batter into another bowl. In one, add the cocoa powder and golden syrup, and in the other add the vanilla extract. Spoon alternately into the sandwich tins. Pulling a skewer through a few times for a fathered look.
- Otherwise, add the vanilla extract into the plain batter and spoon into the two sandwich tins. You’re looking for a more-or-less even top, so spoon down with a spatula or knife. Bang the tin into the kitchen surface a couple of times.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. The sponge will spring back when pressed and an inserted skewer/fork should come out clean. Take out of the tins carefully and place on a cooling rack as soon as possible. Leave to cool through.
- For the filling, whisk together the butter and sifted icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract. Spread your jam/alternative over the top of one sponge. Then spread the filling on top. Sandwich the two together and start to spread the icing on top of the other sponge: decorate as desired (I used walnutes going spare around the edges of mine!).
Very tasty classic that did not last two days in my house! I hope you enjoy too, and happy de-stressing!