About my baking challenge

I discovered the joy of baking for the first time ever in 2013, shortly after my dear mum passed away from cancer. During 2014 I tried to bring these two things together in a positive way , have fun and raise some money for Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield where my mum passed away. Throughout the year I tried out new techniques and recipes from time to time ... and then sold some of my bakes for charity in my workplace. Since then I have continued to bake with some ups and downs .. and this blog charts my baking experiences, good and bad!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Charity Bake #1 - Three layer Victoria sponge

Hi everyone,
Well here I am with my first charity bake .... I thought I would start simple with a classic Victoria sponge but with a bit of a twist ... I decided to make three layers instead of two, and to fill it with both raspberry jam (bottom layer) and lemon curd (top layer), with buttercream.

Three layer Victoria sponge

For the sponge
300g self-raising flour (* see Tip)
300g butter, softened
300g caster sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
Raspberry jam
Lemon curd

For the buttercream
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Tip: weigh your eggs, and then use exactly the same weight for each of your flour, butter and sugar. My 5 eggs weighed exactly 300g - adjust your own weights slightly to corresond with your eggs.

3 * 8 inch loose-bottomed sandwich tins (I recently bought mine from Wilkinsons - well reviewed, and so cheap you don't feel bad about buying three!!)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan.
2. Place the butter in bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add the sugar and beat until well combined and fluffy.
4. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
5. Fold in the sifted flour a little at the time and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat.
6. Lightly fold in the milk until just combined. mixture should drop easily from the spoon / beater.
7. Lightly grease three 8 inch loose bottomed sandwich tins, and spoon the mixture evenly into them.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and spring back when pressed, and the cake is shrinking from the side of the tin. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
9. Leave to cool in the cake tin for approx 10 minutes., then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
10. Meanwhile make the buttercream by besting the softened butter until pale and fluffy, then beating in the sifted icing sugar a lttle at a time. Beat for several minutes to make the mixture light and fluffy. If it is too stff add a little milk.
11. When the cakes are completely cold, sandwich together with the buttercream, jam and lemon curd. Sprinkle a little sifted icing sugar on top.

This is only the second Victoria sponge I have ever made, and the first with my new stand mixer. Although I was careful not to overbeat the mixture when adding the flour, the sponges did not rise as well as my previous hand mixed effort - I guess I need to get full used to my new mixer over time. Also the edges of the sponge were slightly crisp where they had touched the sides of the cake tin so I did cut them off.

Overall the sponges didn't rise completely evenly which is often a problem with Victoria sponges, but as they were not very tall I couldn't really cut them to level them, so the final effort is a bit wonky!

Finally, I spread the jam first followed by the buttercream ... this meant it was impossible to spread the buttercream thinly without making a mess ... so I think I somewhat over filled the cake.  I'm pretty sure it tastes ok though ... I definitely need to work on the aesthetics as the year progresses! Hey ho, It's all a learning experience! 

That's all for today. Hope my colleagues will eat it in a good cause!

Amount raised - £11.00

My colleagues have been really positive about my new venture, with several supportive emails received :-) Several colleagues also praised the cake, saying it tasted "lovely". Yippee! I was clearly over-worrying about the cake looking a bit untidy .. but i will still be trying to improve as the year goes on!

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