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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"tea and a walking in the fields"

victoria sponge cake

at the beginning of our book this month,
before the "murder" happens,
laurel is daydreaming in her treehouse.
along with dreaming about a boy and growing up and leaving
green acres someday,
she is also thinking about the birthday party and picnic that her family is about to have.
victoria sponge cake and fizzy lemonade.
sounds so good this time of year.

this cake is also mentioned throught the book...

i did a little research and found out a little bit about
victoria sponge cake.
Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one of Queen Victoria's (1891-1901) ladies-in-waiting, is credited as the creator of teatime. Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs into her dressing room.
Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for
"tea and a walking the fields."
The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.
Queen Victoria adopted the new craze for tea parties. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies were in formal dress for the afternoon teas. This simple cake was one of the queen's favorites. After her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the Queen Victoria spend time in retreat at the Queen's residence (Osborn House) at the Isle of Wight. According to historians, it was here that the cakes were named after her.

What is a Victoria Sponge cake? It consists of two light sponge cakes which are sandwiched together, with a layer of strawberry jam and a cream center. Sounds easy? Well it is not a difficult recipe but it is all too easy to get this recipe wrong, and end up with a cake that is heavy and unappetizing.
I have detailed tips and instructions so it turns out perfect
every time. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before making this cake.
The jam filling can be your favorite jam, not just strawberry; but then it would not be a traditional Victoria Sponge cake recipe.  Black Raspberry, Cherry or Raspberry Jam makes a tasty cake. So does Lemon Curd! Let's get baking!

3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup super-fine white sugar*
3/4 cup
homemade unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups flour
2-1/4 tsp
baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp
pure vanilla extract
1 cup homemade strawberry jam

strawberry slices
1/4 cup super-fine sugar*

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 inch cake pans and dust the inside with flour and tap out excess. Line the bottom of the pans with wax or parchment paper. Put the cake pans on a baking sheet also lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Sift the dry ingredients together. (*For super-fine sugar, place the specific amount of granulated sugar in a blender and pulse a couple of times.) Very easy to make and less expensive.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a full minute after each addition. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients, and combine well. Do not over-mix!
Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans and level out with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or when a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up. (These cooled cakes may be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months.)
Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.
While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak. Gently fold in the strawberry jam.
When the cakes are cool sandwich them together with filling. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/4 cup of super-fine sugar.

how does this sound for
"special occasion cake"?
delicious to me:)

lets make cake this weekend!
if you decide to,
instagram us!

P.S. the narrator in the audio version of the book is fantastic...
soooo good!!!

more later...


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