When I originally talked about Allotment Cakes for the Weekend, I mentioned resourcefulness. With this time of year very much forcing me into the store cupboard and freezer, this weekend’s cake is about invention.
Or maybe a cop-out whilst I (still impatiently) wait for rhubarb of a cake-making quantity.
This week, I’m baking a Victoria sponge, using a completely failsafe recipe passed on to me by a lady I used to work with called Claire. I use this recipe if I ever volunteer to bake for a cake sale and then forget. It’s quick, easy but totally delicious.
Anyway, the resourceful allotment ingredient: the last of my 2012 jam, made using fruit from the plot. And I’ve got a choice – the traditional strawberry or the more daring, unconventional damson?
As it goes, any jam is tasty in a Victoria sponge. In the past, I’ve used both strawberry and damson, as well as plum, blackcurrant, and even rhubarb. However, damson is my favourite. I love the sharpness, which makes a tangy change from other sweeter summer fruits.
For the cake mix:
8oz caster sugar
8oz self-raising flour.
For the buttercream and filling
8oz icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Grease the sides and bases of two 20cm springform cake tins.
2. Mix the caster sugar, margarine, and eggs with a food mixer until the mixture looks light and fluffy. If you haven’t got a mixer, a normal food processor will work just as well for this recipe.
3. Add the flour and mix for a few seconds, or until it’s all mixed in.
4. Spread the cake mixture evenly in the two cake tins and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. When you think the cake is done, poke a knife in and if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
5. Leave to cool and make the buttercream by mixing the icing sugar and butter. You might need to add a tablespoon of water to bind the cream together.
6. When the cake has cooled, remove from the tins and spread the buttercream mixture on one of the bases. Spread jam thickly over the buttercream and then put the other base on top.
7. Sieve icing sugar over the cake to finish (and hide any imperfections!).