For the last birthday of our flat, I made Claire a classic Victoria sponge (with cream & tinned berries), and decorated it with berries, cream & a caramel sauce. Although I forgot the baking powder (which I’m still kicking myself about) I managed to dress it up pretty fancy and even though the texture was dense, it was still delicious 🙂
Classic vanilla sponges are possibly the easiest recipe to remember ever. I only ever use the 1:1:1:1 ratio with egg:butter:sugar:flour, as ever, weighing the (shell-less) eggs first to get my baseline measurement for everything else.
I use the creaming method:
- Beat fat & sugar until pale and fluffy
- Gradually beat in eggs (along with vanilla essence if desired)
- Fold in flour
and bake at 180C fan, with timings depending on the size of the cake tin. For a standard cake tin with a 3-egg batter, I would estimate about 25-30 minutes depending on the strength of your oven.
Caramel sauce recipe:
Sugar work can be extremely fiddly, but with a little practice and minimal panicking you’ll nail caramel sauce like a pro. The only equipment you’ll need are: saucepan, cup/glass/mug and a spoon to stir with. No weighing, no sugar-thermometers; I like to keep things really simple by using a ratio-recipe (1:1:2, sugar:water:cream) and letting my eyeballs do the measuring of the cooking.
- caster sugar
- double cream
- Measure out half a cup/glass/mug of caster sugar, and half a cup of water, and add both to a hot pan.
- You’re allowed to stir your mixture until the sugar dissolves. Beyond this point, DO NOT STIR.
- Keep cooking out your sugar until it begins to caramelise. You’re looking for a deep straw colour. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PAN. Sugar is way too easy to burn, but if you keep an eye on it like a hawk, you’ll be fine!
- Once your sugar is caramel, lower the heat, and in one quick go, add 1 cup/glass/mug of double cream. Immediately stir the cream in with the spoon until everything is nicely combined. The mixture will bubble quite vigorously at first, but don’t be scared, just keep calm and stir! Take off the heat and allow to cool. If you want to make salted caramel, add the salt to taste at the end, when the mixture is combined, but still warm so that it dissolves the salt.