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Victoria sponge

Saturday 06 March 2010 01:00 GMT

This is Fiona Cairns' all-in-one version of the classic Victoria sponge and I must say it works a treat – but you must ensure the butter is very, very soft. You can vary the filling if you wish; try adding ingredients such as lemon or cocoa for a slightly different flavour.

175g unsalted butter, softened, plus a little more for greasing the tin
175g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
175g golden caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

150ml Jersey cream
4-5tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4.

You can choose to cook this cake either in a 1 x 20cm sandwich tin or in 2 x 20cm sandwich tins; then line the bases with discs of baking parchment. If you just use 1 tin, line the sides with a 7cm-high collar of baking parchment as well, to allow for the rise. Grease the tin or tins.

For this batter, you can use an electric mixer and beater attachment; or use a food processor; or a bowl and an electric whisk if you want.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the butter (in knobs), the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat together until thoroughly blended, taking care not to over-mix so you will have a light sponge. Scrape the batter into the tin or tins and level the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes if you are using 2 tins, or 30-35 minutes for 1 tin, until the cake springs back to the touch or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes, then run a knife around the rim to loosen the cake from the tin and turn out on to a wire rack. Peel off the paper and leave until completely cool.

Lightly whip the cream until just thickened into soft peaks. If you have baked the cake in 1 tin, split in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Fill with jam and cream and sandwich together, with the cream forming the uppermost layer. If you have baked the cake in 2 tins, sandwich the flat bases together. Dust the top with icing sugar.

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