I was kicked out of domestic science at school because it clashed with art. Over the years I’ve convinced myself that had I chosen domestic science over art I would now be a more proficient baker. Regretfully I was kicked out of art for some reason I can’t remember so somehow it feels like a double blow.
For a very long time I’ve wanted to bake the perfect victoria sponge cake. You know one that is about 3 inches high, perfectly light and crumbly and deep golden brown peeping through the scattering of icing sugar. Every now and then I give another recipe a go and hope that it will come right. But, somehow the Victoria Sponge Cake is just not my friend. Over the years, my baking efforts have created cakes that have flopped, crashed and burned.
In a moment of holiday weekend madness I felt the time was right to overcome my baking nerves and give Nigella’s Victoria Sponge recipe a go. I was inspired by the shove it all in the food processor approach. Since my traditional methods had failed me before how risky could this be?
Not very it turned out. As long as you don’t count the smoke from the food processor motor as a big set back. You might be a little surprised that a cake mix would have that effect but in truth our food processor has been showing signs of fatigue and I fear that like many of the other technological things in our house of late it is finally giving up the ghost once and for all.
As much as I like the quick whizz approach it always feels like there is more washing up when you get the kitchen gadgets out. Still I managed to create a clean looking cake mixture that looked good when it was put into the cake tins. So far, so good.
Which is more than I can say for my photography today. In case you’re wondering, these photographs have lots of ‘noise’ (which makes the pictures grainy). This comes from the fact that the settings on the camera (exposure compensation if you want to know) was adjusted mysteriously and so I’ve had to process these photographs post capture.
Shame you can’t rectify your baking mistakes quite so easily! I decided not to take a risk with the oven which has a tendency to over bake at the drop of a hat. With some close supervision I was pleased with the result.
The big question in my mind was whether this cake would reach the 3 inch proportions or whether it would be more like the biscuit I usually produce. It turned out it was neither. My big problem was I got distracted outside and forgot to take the cakes out of the tin to cool. Grrr, non stick clearly doesn’t mean after the cooling process.
I wasn’t going to be downhearted though. Jam and cream can cover a multitude of sins.
As well as the quick whizz approach I was intrigued about Nigella’s flour plus cornflour approach as the means of creating a special rising in my cake. It didn’t seem to have a discernable effect. But it did rise higher than my previous attempts.
On the plus side this cake was tasty and crumbly. Not quite the light and airy outcome I was looking for but I do believe it was a better than some of my previous attempts. At least this one didn’t flop in the middle or drop on the floor. Or indeed break into more pieces as I was putting together.
I’m not satisfied I’ve reach peak performance where the Victoria Sponge Cake is concerned. More practice required. Not that MT is complaining about that!