Elizabeth Sponge

nation shall speak peace, news, work
Posted on 06/30/2012 by eofs
At the beginning of June, here in the UK we enjoyed a four day weekend to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Unfortunately I, and most of my colleagues, were denied that pleasure and had to work over the weekend. So in hopes of making some small compensation and spreading the slightest piece of festive cheer, I did what I know always works best when you're working and everyone else is resting. Supply cake:

(Forgive the less than picturesque staging of this photo - it was hastily snapped on work's kitchen table at the start of my shift.)

It's modified from a classic Victoria Sponge, but split into three layers instead of two, with butter icing and blackcurrant jam between the top and middle, butter icing and fresh strawberries between middle and bottom. It was very well received by my colleagues, who amusingly were all far too polite to eat the decorative strawberries!

Sponge cake:
6oz butter/margarine
6oz castor sugar
3 medium eggs
6oz self-raising flour, sifted

To fill:
Butter icing (2 parts, by weight, icing sugar to one part butter/marg)
A few tablespoons of blackcurrant jam
Fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Icing sugar and the best looking strawberries to decorate

1) Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F, Mark 4)
2) Grease and flour two 7 inch (18cm) sandwich tins
3) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
4) Break 1 egg into a cup and beat with a fork
5) Add beaten egg to butter/sugar mixture, with a spoonful of the flour to prevent curdling. Beat in
6) Repeat 5 & 6 until all the eggs are added
7) Gently fold in remaining flour with a metal spoon (I won't lie, I use the same wooden spon as for the rest and do a sort of stir/enthusiastic fold. But don't be like me, don't be a bad baker, fold your flour in with a metal spoon)
8) Transfer equally to prepared tins, smooth tops a bit but don't fret too much
9) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they look golden brown, risen, are firm to the touch and just slightly shrinking away from the edges of the pan. A cocktail stick inserted in the centre will come out clean
10) Leave in tins for a few minutes, then remove and place on cooling rack
11) When cold, split (I just split one, this will depend how much filling you have)
and fill. You might need to level the top of the one going on the bottom, the scraps make an excellent reward for selflessly making cake for other people

When filling, alternate layers of butter icing/jam with butter icing/strawberries:
- Spread jam on the underside of a layer, splodge butter icing on the top of another (try to keep it somewhat towards the centre so that it doesn't spurt too much out the side once sandwiched together - unless an artistic spurt is your preference, which it might well be if it doesn't need transporting). Pop jammy layer jam-side down on top of butter icingy layer.
- For the strawberry layers, spread icing evenly across the top of the layer and either neatly tessellate sliced strawberries, or hapzardly scatter chopped ones, on it. A thin application of butter icing to the bottom of the layer above would not go amiss and helps stop things sliding too much.

I had my jammy layer above my strawberry one, but there's no reason why you shouldn't do it whichever way you please. Had I made more icing, I'd have had jammy layers either side of the strawberry layer, to make it look less like I'd modelled it on the French flag.

Just before serving, dust the top with icing sugar. If presenting to company, you might want to pop a couple of strawberries on top - I anchored mine with a trefoil of butter icing.

Serve and enjoy!

This is a wonderfully scalable recipe. I find a 3 egg mix just right for my tins and hungry colleagues, but by all means make these as small or large as you'd like.
Just remember the cardinal rule - 2oz of butter/sugar/flour for each egg. Similarly you could happily add more layers - I'd only made a couple of ounces of icing, and was assembling the cake before work so didn't have the inclination to whip up some more. But had I had more on hand, I think I'd have done four or five layers, alternating the jam/icing with the strawberries/icing. So really, choose however much you desire for the filling.

You could replace the icing with whipped cream too, but as this was going to sit out near the windows of a south-facing office with unpredictable air-conditioning, I thought that not the best idea.

Go! Bake! Enjoy! No reason to wait 6 years until the next Diamond Jubilee, make it for whatever occasion or lack-of-occasion you wish. It's such a simple, tasty cake that there's really no reason not to.
bekkypk 1st-Jul-2012 08:25 am (UTC)
That looks and sounds lovely - And working in the NHS, we too were denied the holiday, and fought back with a colleague's delicious fairy cakes :)
emmacmf 1st-Jul-2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yummy food on bank holidays is a constant for NHS staff all over the UK! I worked last Christmas day, and ate far too many homemade cakes.
somnistra 2nd-Jul-2012 11:29 am (UTC)
Looks great! Wish there was an innards shot though :) Also I love the serving plate!
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