We are building a porch and the front wall at home. It has been four weeks of hell: dust, debris, plaster stains, cement powder, dirty builders' boot marks everywhere, the house is cold and dirty and my kitchen completely uninviting! Everything is covered with a fine layer of dust! Living, or attempting to live, while builders are in your house is a nightmare! One thing I can't get over, is the amount of tea breaks our builders take! Every time there is a break, the kettle has to be boiled, tea bags, sugar and milk for a "cuppa" (cup of tea) must be ready and the mandatory biscuits' tin has to be presented! Alan and I are putting on weight with so many cuppas throughout the day!
Work cannot possibly commence before a cuppa, then the elevenses cuppa, the cuppa after lunch, the 3 pm cuppa, the four-ish cuppa, the six-ish cuppa and the cuppa before he goes home! I have used more tea bags and milk in the last 4 weeks than in the entire 5 years we've been in the house! Enticing my builder to work harder, I baked this cake, my old time favourite treat for a cuppa, last week and it got eaten between the elevenses and lunch.
This luscious Victoria sponge cake filled with fresh raspberries and whipped cream with a lightly dust of caster sugar is my idea of heaven on a plate! The recipe came from Nigella Lawson's wonderful book 'How to Eat'. I've twicked it a tiny little bit, by adding some lime zest and with my choice of filling, but her basic recipe is by far the best victoria sponge cake I've tried: it's quick, simple to make and the whole thing tastes amaizing! I halved her recipe as I like the petitte 7" sandwich tins I have, but if you have bigger tins, double the recipe. For the one on this photo I used fresh raspberries with a sprinkle of caster sugar as they were in season, but I love it with raspberry jam and cream as well!
A word of advise; all ingrediens must be at room temperature and the butter must be very soft. Cold ingredients will affect the texture and airiness of your cake, so take them at least 3 hours in advance or the night before. Enjoy!
Preheat the oven at 170 celsius. Butter 2 sandwich tins (for this recipe I used 7" tins).
Put all ingredients, except the milk, in a food processor and blitz till they are all mixed. Add the milk through the funnel and blitz for a few seconds more until you have a smooth batter of dropping consistency. If you do not have a food processor, use the electric mixer.
Divide the cake batter between the 2 tins; use a spatula to spread it evenly in the tin. Place them in the oven and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden. They should spring back to the touch and a cake taster should come clean if inserted in the middle. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 1 minute before turning them into a wire rack to cool. Remember you can cook these cakes together on the same rack, just make sure the tins do not touch, leave a space between them so air and heat can circulate in the oven.
While the cakes cook and cool, get on with making your filling. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the caster sugar and mix until firm. Leave it in the fridge for later. Taste your raspberries for sweetness; if they are in the sour side, sprinkle them with 1 -2 teaspoons of caster sugar, this will reduce their bitterness.
When the cakes are totally cold, you can start assembling the final item. Put one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand. Spoon the cream on top of it and spread it evenly making sure not to come to the edge of the cake. Follow this by putting the raspberries on top arranging them whatever way you like as long as you cover most of the cake. Reserve three raspberries for decoration. Then take the second cake and place it on top of the raspberries pressing gently to sandwich them together. Don't press to hard or all the filling will squeeze out of the cake. Just a light press so that the cream and fruit comes to the very edge of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with caster sugar and decorate with the three raspberries on top.
There you have it, a beautiful cake in about 45 minutes. When it is all said an done, most of this time is used waiting for the cake to cook & cool, making it and putting it all together is quite quick.