Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Victoria Sponge - with added flower power!

I am a big fan of simple pleasures, and despite my enthusiasm for all things 'cake' I think you have to go a long way to beat a simply made Victoria Sponge with a generous layer of seedless raspberry jam and a liberal dusting of icing sugar on the top. I would be most happy with this arrangement, particularly if it were accompanied by a cup of tea and a few minutes ducking out time where I could be alone with my thoughts. Lovely. However, when it comes to a girlie birthday cake, then some embellishments need to be made, hence the (garish) pink and peach flowered creation you see before you.

I am still a cake decorating novice, with a very shaky hand but quite a bit of positivity about the whole thing (usually) so whilst it might not look like one of those beautifully perfect ones you get from the bakery or the supermarket, I like to see this one as one of a kind, its charm being that it is spectacularly unique and unmistakably homemade. Plus, the birthday girl loved it, and she was the one who needed to be impressed.

The sponge recipe is a whipped sponge rather than a Genoese; and the recipe, though not exclusively his because I have seen it elsewhere and I am sure it is basically the standard approach, was sourced from James Martin's 'Desserts'. I may have put a little more vanilla in than he suggested but that is because I like a cake to taste 'vanillery'; yes, I believe I have just invented a word.

I filled the layer with seedless raspberry jam; I think the 'seedless' bit is pretty crucial, and of course you could (and maybe should add whipped cream or buttercream on top of the raspberry layer, but as this was a cake where the decoration was the main event, I decided to forego these. Even I think you can only have so much frosting.

And while I am at it, a word about frosting. I love food colouring pastes, rather than little bottles of liquid, simply because you can get a myriad of shades without splitting the frosting. Secondly, these days I have become more haphazard in my making of buttercream as I have decided that I don't necessarily want something that is too tooth achingly sweet. I tend to use the 'Hummingbird Bakery' frosting but I would suggest that you don't always put as much icing as is suggested and that you taste regularly until you achieve the sweetness and consistency that you desire. If you are judicious with the adding of the milk and the icing sugar rather than just following the recipe, you may find that you create something that you like slightly better. Just my opinion. You could be a sugar fiend, in which case, fire away!

Victoria Sponge (from James Martin - Desserts)


  • oil, for greasing
  • flour for dusting
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

2. Grease and flour two 20cm sandwich tins.

3. Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl or food processor, and mix well to a creamy consistency.

4. Slowly beat in the eggs one by one.

5. Fold in the sifted flour. I like to add the flour in three batches so I don't over beat the mixture at this stage.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen, golden brown and springy when pressed.

7. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

8. Spread one cake with jam, and cream, if using. Place the other cake on top.

For the frosting:

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25ml whole milk
  • a couple of drops of vanilla extract
For the decoration:
Peach sugar paste
Flower cutters
Pink sprinkles and white chocolate sprinkles

Can I remind you of my note about frosting? I use the above measurements as a guide but you might like to experiment.

Beat (some) of the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Taste regularly to see if you need to add more of the icing sugar. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

Add your food colouring, it you are using.

Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

To frost on the cake.

Make sure that you have placed the cake on strips of greaseproof paper. You can pull these out gently once you have iced the cake to create a neatish edge to the bottom of the cake.

Load most of the frosting on to the top of the cake.

Using a flat knife or spatula that has been dipped in a cup of hot water, smooth the frosting over the top of the cake and down on to the sides.

Using the knife, try to spread the frosting neatly down the sides. You will need to dip the knife in hot water regularly.

Once reasonably neat, use the knife to lightly spread the frosting upwards from the sides of the cake onto the top. Then smooth that frosting in strokes towards the middle, so you are left with an excess of frosting in the middle of the cake. You can detract from this by putting one of your decorations there.

I used flower cutters to cut out shapes from some peach sugar paste that I had rolled out. I then added pink sprinkles to the middles of the flowers by indenting the centres of the flowers lightly on the cake and moistening them slightly so that the sprinkles would stick. I used white chocolate sprinkles for the centres of the little flowers, but of course, you can decorate how you like!

For the decoration

Peach sugar paste
Flower cutters
Pink sprinles and white chocolate sprinkles

1 comment:

Thank you for taking the time to drop by!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...