I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender for weeks now and can’t stop talking about it and wishing I were adorable and British and lived in a land where tea and cakes all the time is totally acceptable. Despite the fact that I live in Alaska and not the land of shires and queens, that hasn’t stopped me from going on my own baking bender. Last week I made a few batches of scones, and this week I am trying my hand at the fabled Victoria Sponge. This is the easiest dessert in the GBBO repertoire, but one feels so accomplished making it.
- Cream 1 cup room temperature butter in your stand mixer. Once light and fluffy, slowly add 1 cup sugar until incorporated.
- Beat 4 room temperature eggs one at a time into the mixture until incorporated (the room temp thing is key – cold eggs will harden your butter and it turns into a mess. So, trust me on this one.)
- Sift 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons baking soda into a bowl.
- Slowly fold flour mixture into fluffy egg/butter/sugar mixture.
- Add to 2 greased 8 inch round pans.
- Bake 25-30 minutes at 325* – cake is done when it comes away from the sides of the pan or tester comes out clean
When your cake is cool, whip up a batch of homemade whipped cream, slather some jam or fresh fruit inside and layer your two cakes like a giant sweet sandwich full of delicious. Now, brew some tea, don a giant hat, and talk smart about cool things like cricket and the queen mum.
I made an awesome raspberry and fig cake with lemon zest a few days ago – and it was really, really good…What put it over the top was the addition of real whipped cream. If you aren’t using real, made yourself, whipped cream, you aren’t living my friend. It’s super easy to do.
- Send your husband to the store to buy a small container of heavy cream, or ‘whipping cream’
- Add cream to stand mixer and whisk at a medium – high setting until fluffy (approximately 3 minutes)
- Flavor with a spoonful of confectioners sugar, or some of the vanilla syrup you use in your morning coffee and give it a few more whirls with the mixer
- Shove finger into cream and taste test
- Add to cake and enjoy
Fresh whipped cream will stay in your fridge for up to 5 days before it starts to break down and get funky. And since we polished off the previous cake within that time frame, I figured it was a shame to waste the cream…..so I made another cake!
I used the same recipe as before (it doesn’t get any easier) as a base, but omitted the citrus and zest, instead opting for a few good shakes of cinnamon and sliced apples as my garnish. It feels a lot like fall around here these days, so a cake like this was pretty mandatory. Top with leftover whipped cream and it’s the perfect end to a great day! (You can also have it for breakfast. I went ahead and tested that theory this morning and it’s also really good….)
Last week I was seduced by a bunch of fresh figs at Costco. And since it was Costco, that of course means that a bunch is actually a metric ton (only a slight exaggeration). The husband and I have had our fill of the fresh figs, so it was time to come up with something that made use of the not quite turned-still edible-sort of fresh figs. I loosely based my fig cake recipe on the one found here in Food & Wine.
- Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar with 3 eggs until fluffy, about 2 minutes
- Add 1 stick melted unsalted butter and the zest and juice of 1 lemon, mix until incorporated
- Add a few squirts of lime juice (this is technical stuff people) and slowly add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until smooth
Butter and dust a 9 inch cake pan and add the batter. Using some of last years frozen raspberries, drop a few dollops into the batter and add your cut figs to make a pattern of your choice.
Bake for 40 minutes at 350* on the second lowest rack in the oven. Move cake to the 2nd from the top rack and continue baking for 35 minutes. Cake is finished when a tester comes out clean. Cool, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy. It’s really, really, good.
Our awesome little Blue Heeler Cedar just celebrated her 8th Birthday (or is it Barkday?). And since I’m “that person” I absolutely had to make her a cake. Dog cakes are different from people cakes as all that sugar and extra stuff isn’t good for them (I know it’s not really good for us either, but we have thumbs so it’s ok), so carrots are the main ingredient in this one. And considering carrots are pretty much the only ‘people food’ she’s allowed, and absolutely loves them and comes running when she hears them being chopped, this cake was a huge doggy hit.
- Grate 1 1/2-2 cups carrots
- Add 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 cup honey to a bowl
- Arrange slices from 1 large carrot on the bottom of a lightly greased cake pan to allow for ultimate doggy cake presentation (yeah, I know she doesn’t care)
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350* oven
- Cool, release and serve
She thought it was pretty much the best thing ever. I’m not even sure she bothered to chew. Happy Birthday Cedar!