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Victoria Sponge with Berries

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Victoria Sponge with Berries
Christina Soong-Kroeger

Sponge Cake, or a Victorian Sponge, is a beloved and classic Australian dessert.

This is not a difficult cake to make although I would say a stand mixer is almost essential unless you are a very patient hand mixer as it's the lengthy mixing time that really makes this cake.

This recipe is adapted from the 'Pinch of Salt Sponge' recipe by Margaret Green in Liz Harfull's The Blue Ribbon Cookbook, a wonderful treasury of recipes, stories and tips from prize-winning country show cooks.

For those that are only mildly gluten intolerant, this cake may still be an option as it only has only one heaped teaspoon of flour in it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 level teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 heaped teaspoon flour
  • 325mls thickened cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons strawberry or mixed berry jam
  • 300 grams fresh or frozen raspberries or mixed berries

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 degrees fan-forced).
  2. Grease two 20 inch cake tins with plenty of butter.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar together in free-standing mixer for around 10 minutes. You can use a handheld mixer but set a timer to make sure you mix it for the full 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sift dry ingredients and then gently fold into the egg mixture, trying not to bash the air out of it while ensuring it is thoroughly mixed.
  5. Divide mixture equally into two cake tins and place in the oven, ideally on the same middle rack.
  6. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the tops are brown and the cakes are starting to pull away from the sides of the cake tins.
  7. Remove from oven and run a spatula around the cake edges to loosen before turning out onto a clean tea towel to cool. Place the cake tins on top of the upended cakes so that they cool down slowly. Let cakes cool completely.
  8. Whip the cream for a few minutes on high until firm but with still a little 'give'.
  9. To assemble the cake, place one cake on the cake stand. Spread top with jam and then dot a third of the fruit on top and cover with two thirds of the whipped cream. Use a spatula to spread the cream around evenly.
  10. Place the other cake on top and spread evenly with remaining cream, using the spatula to smooth the cream.
  11. Top with remaining berries and dust with sugar if desired.

Notes:

1) Sift the dry ingredients to make sure you don't get any lumps of bicarb or cream of tartar. These do not taste good!

2) You must mix the eggs and sugar for a good ten minutes. Don't be tempted to shorten this mixing time - it's an essential part of the process.

3) This cake has minimal sugar making it a suitable treat for children or those watching their sugar intake. Those with a sweeter tooth could add 2-5 tablespoons of sugar to the cream.

4) If you do have a gas oven you could try putting the cake into a cold oven and then turning it immediately on once the cake is inside. This is said to produce an exceptional cake.

5) When serving use a sharp serrated knife to cut the cake and press gently.

As is common in the publishing industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary book for the purpose of reviewing. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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