Saturday, 25 September 2010

AB's Delicious Blueberry Sponge

 I am not the kind of cook who diligently follows a recipe gram for gram. I prefer to taste, feel and sometimes guess my way to culinary success. I inherited this cooking style from my mother, who is such a domestic goddess, she makes Nigella look like a novice.

My cakes are highly acclaimed so I thought I would share this particular one with you, as it went down particularly well (and fast, which you can tell by the fact I didn't even manage to get the whole cake in the photo, above!).

I used the basic quantities for a Victoria sponge (pictured below, with strawberry jam and cream for filling). These are 125g each of sugar, self-raising flour and unsalted butter, plus two eggs. I only use free-range eggs and am particularly fond of Legbar eggs, which have pretty pastel-coloured shells! These can be found at Sainsbury's and, I assume, most other large supermarkets. They also have a rich orange-coloured yolk, which suggests that the Legbar chickens are well looked after.

As with all cakes, begin by mixing the solids and then slowly add the liquids (in this case, the egg). It is important to let butter sit out of the fridge before beginning, long enough for it to reach room temperature, so that it is pliable enough to mix. I love vanilla essence and so I also added a generous splash of Fairtrade Ndali Vanilla Essence Intense along with the eggs. This is strong stuff and makes a massive difference to the taste of my cakes.

Pour the lot into a greased sandwich tin (to grease, take the wrapper of the butter and rub around the edges, or use greaseproof paper cut to size), place in a preheated oven (170-180 degrees Centigrade) and leave for 25 minutes. It is vital that you refrain from opening the oven door to steal a whiff of that gorgeous baking smell as it will cause your cake to sink (yikes!).

When your cake looks golden-brown and firm, remove from the oven and gently test the centre by inserting a clean knife. If the knife brings out gooey mixture with it, the cake should be returned to the oven. When it is ready, the surface of the cake will be firm but will spring back when lightly pressed with your (clean!) fingers.

After your delightful cake has cooled (by resting on a wire rack), you can add the cream and blueberries. For this topping, whip some double cream (with an electrical whisk or manually with a hand-held whisk) until it forms peaks when scooped up and you think it is firm enough to stay in place on the cake. Be careful not to over whisk! Spread the cream all over the cake and round the edges. Finally, simply sprinkle your preferred fruit over the top (I chose blueberries because the weather was warm at the time). Et voila!

AB x

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