Coffee Topped Sponge

Coffee Topped Victoria Sponge

This version of the classic sponge is filled and topped with coffee butter icing. In the U.K. this is known as coffee cake but in North America, coffee cake can be any cake meant to accompany a cup of coffee, which is why I called this one a coffee topped sponge.

Coffee Topped Sponge

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30–35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For cake
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour/self rising flour, sifted (1 cup + 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • For the coffee buttercream
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 225 g (8 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence/extract

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased


  • Method
  • For cake
  • Preheat the oven to 170C° (325°F) (gas 3)
  • First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible. Put to one side.
  • Using a free standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
  • Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
  • Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
  • Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with the tip of a finger.
  • Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings, and cool on wire racks.
  • Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
  • The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl and then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1–2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • For coffee buttercream
  • Beat the butter until creamy and then gradually beat in the icing/powdered sugar until smooth. (A free standing mixer does this in no time.)
  • Beat in the coffee essence/extract until it is well mixed in.

  • To assemble
  • Once the sponges are cold, carefully invert one onto a plate and evenly spread with half the buttercream.
  • Then place the other sponge on top and gently press down.
  • Evenly spread the top with the remaining buttercream.
  • To make a pattern, make straight lines through the buttercream using a fork. Just pull steadily through the surface of the buttercream. Then diagonally pull the fork through at intervals.

Note

  • The first method of mixing the cake is the classic method and the all-in-one method is the modern version. It’s purely a matter of personal preference which you use.
  • For more tips on cake baking, click on my ‘Tips’ section.
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Updated: June 20, 2020

Cappuccino Tray Bake

A perfect little square to accompany that coffee, mid-morning. A coffee sponge with crushed walnuts is topped with a smooth white chocolate and mascarpone icing. And then dusted with cocoa powder.

Cappuccino Tray Bake

18 servings
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster/superfine sugar (1⅛ cups)
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 3 tbsp Espresso coffee, or coffee extract
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1¾ cups)
  • tsp baking powder
  • 85 g (3 oz) chopped walnuts (⅔ cup)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • For the topping
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 55 g (2 oz) icing/powdered sugar (½ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) white chocolate
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Equipment

  • You will also need 30 cm x 25 cm (12 x 10 inch) brownie tin/pan, greased and lined.
  • Method
  • For the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
  • Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand whisk or alternatively a food mixer with whisk attachment.
  • Add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
  • Now add a quarter of the beaten eggs and beat at full speed.
  • Then add the remaining egg gradually, beating well between each addition. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 2 tablespoons of the flour.
  • Next add the coffee and whisk in.
  • Spoon over the flour, baking powder, and chopped walnuts. Lightly fold in by hand until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Now loosen the mixture with the milk.
  • Pour into the prepared tin/pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tin/pan to cool completely.
  • For the topping
  • First melt the chocolate. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continually stir the chocolate until it has just melted and then remove immediately from the heat and leave to cool while preparing the topping.
  • Beat the mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Sift in the sugar and beat again until combined.
  • Add the melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth.
  • Now spread evenly over the cake.
  • Sift over cocoa powder.
    Cappuccino Tray Bake
  • Then cut into squares.
    Cappuccino Tray Bake
  • Note
  • The squares need to be stored in the refrigerator.
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A Great British Coffee Cake

A Great British Coffee Cake

This is truly a great cake for coffee lovers. The sponge is very light and full of coffee flavour, and the rich coffee buttercream is so creamy and fluffy.

A Great British Coffee Cake

8 large slices
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 170 g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 150 g (5¼ oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 40 g (1½ oz) golden syrup* (2 rounded tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp coffee extract, or Camp coffee
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1⅓ cups)
  • ½ –1 tsp baking powder

Note

  • *I buy my golden syrup from a British store here in Canada. If you are unable to find golden syrup then substitute it with liquid honey.

  • For the filling and decoration
  • 150 g (5¼ oz) unsalted butter, softened (⅔ cup, or 1¼ sticks)
  • 300 g (11 oz) icing/powdered sugar (2¾ cups)
  • 2 tbsp coffee extract, or Camp coffee
  • 1 tbsp warm water

  • 2 tbsp icing/powdered sugar, for sifting
  • 24 chocolate buttons OR
  • 40 milk chocolate chips

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 × 18 cm, 7 in sandwich cake tins/pans, greased and base lined. Also a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star nozzle.


  • Method
  • For the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  • Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  • Now gradually add the beaten eggs, golden syrup, and coffee, together with 2 tablespoons of the flour.

  • Fold in the remaining flour and ½ teaspoon baking power.

  • OR put everything in a mixing bowl or food mixer, but adding 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and whisk until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.

  • Divide equally between the two cake tins/pans and level the tops.

  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. The sponges will also have slightly shrunk away from the sides of the tins/pans.

  • Leave for a couple of minutes and then turn out onto wire cooling racks and remove the lining paper. Leave to cool completely.

  • For the filling and decoration
  • Meanwhile beat the butter, icing/powdered sugar, coffee, and water together until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.

  • Put a quarter in the icing bag and put to one side.

  • Place one of the sponges on a flat surface and spread evenly with the remaining coffee cream. Then place the second sponge on top and sift heavily with icing/powdered sugar.

  • Now lightly mark the top of the cake with a knife through the icing/powdered sugar into 8 equal portions. (This will be used as a guide for the piping.)

  • Now starting from the outside edge of the cake, pipe a line of buttercream on each marked portion but only take it up within an inch of the centre. Then pipe a ring of stars to join the lines in the centre.

  • Arrange the chocolate buttons or chocolate chips in the lines of piped buttercream.

  • To finish, lightly dust over the whole cake with a little icing/powdered sugar.

  • Note:
  • The cake can be frozen. Put in a rigid container with a cover and freeze. To thaw, allow 2–3 hours at room temperature.
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Steamed Sponge Puddings

Steamed Jam Sponge Pudding

A real family favourite for a cold winter’s day. A very light sponge pudding that’s very quick and easy to prepare, and with a number of variations to choose from.

Steamed Sponge Puddings

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Basic Recipe

  • Ingredients
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, softened (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55 g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 115 g (4 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1 cup)
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 1 tbsp milk

Equipment

  • You will also need a 600 ml (1 pint) pudding basin and a steamer.


  • Method
  • Beat the egg in a small jug and then add the milk. Put to one side.

  • Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Then gradually fold in the flour alternately with the egg and milk. The mixture should drop gently from a spoon.

  • Alternatively put all the ingredients in a food mixer but add ½ tsp baking powder. Beat until you have a smooth, creamy mixture that will drop gently from a spoon.

  • Grease the pudding basin and add mixture. Take a piece of foil that will cover the top of the basin and come halfway down the sides. Make a pleat through the middle to allow for any expansion. Place over the basin and pinch under rim. Take a length of string. It needs to go round the basin under the rim and be secured tightly. Then cut a second length to make a handle which will make it easier to remove the hot basin at the end of cooking.

  • Fill the saucepan with about two inches of water and bring to the boil. Place the basin in the steamer, cover with the lid, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

  • If you don’t have a steamer, use a deep-sided saucepan. Prepare the basin in the same way and place in the saucepan. Carefully pour boiling water into the saucepan so it comes no more than halfway up the basin. Cover and let the water simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

  • Remove the basin, take off the string and foil, and run a palette knife round the inside. Invert onto a plate and serve.

  • Serve with a fruit or chocolate sauce.

  • To make a pudding for 2
  • Use 1½ oz butter, 1½ oz sugar, 3 oz flour, 1 egg and ½ tbsp milk.
  • You will need a ¾ pint pudding basin.

  • To make a pudding for 6
  • Use 3 oz butter, 3 oz sugar, 6 oz flour, 2 medium eggs and ½ tbsp milk.
  • You will need a 1½ pint pudding basin.

  • Variations of the basic recipe

  • Steamed Fruit Sponge Pudding
  • Fruit Sponge Pudding
  • Fold in 50 g (2 oz) sultanas to the basic mixture just before pouring into the basin.
  • Serve the pudding with custard.
  • (Click here for full recipe)

  • Steamed Jam Sponge Pudding
  • Jam Sponge Pudding
  • Place 2 tbsp of jam in the bottom of the basin before adding the mixture. Raspberry jam works well.
  • Serve with extra jam.
  • (Click here for full recipe)

  • Steamed Syrup Sponge Pudding
  • Syrup Sponge Pudding
  • Place 2 tbsp of golden syrup in the bottom of the basin before adding the mixture.
  • Serve with extra golden syrup.
  • (Click here for full recipe)

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Updated: January 9, 2019

Coffee Walnut Cakes

Coffee Walnut Cakes

This recipe makes 20 individual cakes of a light coffee sponge filled with finely chopped walnuts. They are sandwiched with a creamy coffee filling which is also used to coat the top. Each cake is then decorated with a half walnut. Scrumptious!

Coffee Walnut Cakes

20 cakes
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225 g (8 oz) light muscovado sugar/light brown soft sugar (1 cup)
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), lightly beaten
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1¾ cups), sifted
  • 85 g (3 oz) walnuts, finely chopped (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

  • For the decoration
  • 200 g (7 oz) butter, softened (⅞ cup, or 1¾ sticks)
  • 450 g (1 lb) icing/powdered sugar (4 cups), sifted
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp coffee extract
  • 20 walnut halves

Equipment

  • You will also need a tin/pan 20 × 30 × 5 cm (8 × 12 × 2 inches) base lined. The right-sized roasting tin/pan will work.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).

  • Using a food mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

  • Now gradually add the beaten eggs. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 1 tablespoon flour.

  • Using a large spoon, fold in the flour and then the coffee extract, milk, and chopped walnuts until combined.

  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin/pan and level the surface. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the tin/pan to cool completely. Because of its size, the easiest way to do this is to place a wire rack over the top of the tin/pan, turn the rack over, lift off the tin/pan, and peel away the lining from the cake. Then place a second wire rack over the bottom of the cake and set the cake the right way up on the wire rack.

  • Meanwhile, to make the butter icing. Beat together the butter, icing/powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee extracts, together with 1½ tablespoons of hot water, until smooth.

  • To make it easier to decorate, cut the cake into two once it has completely cooled. Now slice each half horizontally through the middle and then sandwich back together using half the butter icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cakes.

  • Cut each cake into 10 equal pieces and decorate each piece with a walnut half.
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Basic Sponge Sandwich

Basic Sponge Sandwich

A simple light sponge recipe that is the basis of many kinds of sponge cakes, the famous one being the Victoria Sponge Sandwich. This basic sandwich sponge can be filled with a conserve or creamy filling and the top iced, usually with a soft icing, or simply covered with caster or icing sugar/powdered sugar.

Basic Sponge Sandwich

6 –8 servings
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20–25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 115 g (4 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, greased and base-lined.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  • Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer makes this cake very quick to prepare.

  • First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible.

  • Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 1 minute until the mixture is creamy.

  • Divide evenly between the two pans and level the tops.

  • Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 20–25 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with a fingertip.

  • Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings and cool on a wire cooling rack.

  • For a deeper sponge
  • This is known as a two-egg cake, for a deeper sponge use 3 eggs and increase the rest of the ingredients accordingly, and bake for 30–35 minutes.

  • This mixture will also make
  • This quantity of mixture will also be sufficient for 18 cup cakes, a 18 cm (7 inch) square cake, a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake or a 23 cm (9 inch) ring cake.
  • Alternatives to a plain sponge
  • Chocolate
  • Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.

  • Coffee
  • Add 2 teaspoons of coffee extract or 1 tablespoon of instant coffee blended with 2 teaspoons of hot water.

  • Citrus
  • Add 1 teaspoon of grated orange, lemon or lime rind.

  • Tips
  • Always line the base of the tin even if it is non-stick. When greasing, brush butter on evenly. The cake will still stick if it is greased unevenly.

  • Have everything weighed or measured before beginning to mix.

  • No self raising flour? Add 1 level teaspoon baking powder to every 115 g (4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour. Sift the flour twice to incorporate as much air as possible and mix the two ingredients together thoroughly.
  • Butter should be at room temperature for baking. If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge, it can be microwaved on defrost for 20–30 seconds, until the butter is soft but still holds its shape.

  • Leave at least 1 inch space all round tins so that the heat can circulate freely.

  • Give the sponges the baking time suggested in the recipe but use this as a guide. Ovens vary – some are hotter and so cakes will take less time to cook and vice versa. It is better to start checking a few minutes before the allotted time. and if the cake is cooked in less time take it out of the oven. Conversely, if it is not ready at the allotted time allow a couple more minutes and check again. Also, when a cake is ready you can smell it. So your sight and smell are good allies.
  • To tell when they are ready, gently touch in the centre with the fingertips and, if the mixture feels springy and no imprints remain, the cakes are baked. They should also shrink away from around the sides of the tin.

Tips

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Updated: October 3, 2018

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

For chocoholics in the family, this is a delectable chocolate cake. The chocolate flavoured sponge is very light and and the chocolate icing is a little fudgy and is used as a filling too. Of course, you have to finish it off with more chocolate, and slivers of chocolate are used decorate the top. The only non-chocolate addition is apricot jam that is used before adding the icing and this makes it more moist.

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp very hot water
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour/self-rising flour (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • tsp baking powder
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • For the filling, icing, and decoration
  • 140 g (5 oz) butter (½ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1¼ sticks)
  • 280 g (2½ oz) cocoa powder (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 340 g (12 oz) icing/powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • 6 tbsp apricot glaze or apricot jam
  • good quality plain/dark chocolate for the decoration

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 20 cm (8 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased.


  • Method
  • For the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  • Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl and leave to cool.

  • Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. (Either use a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer.) Add the butter, sugar, and eggs. Then drizzle the cooled cocoa mixture over the top. Beat for 2 minutes until creamy.

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 35–40 minutes. The cakes should have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and will spring back when lightly pressed with a forefinger.

  • Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove, peeling off the lining, and cool on a wire rack.

  • For the filling, icing, and decoration
  • Place the chocolate for the decoration in the refrigerator to become cold as it will be easier to work with.

  • Now for the filling and icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

  • Put the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt over a low heat. As soon as it has melted, mix in the cocoa powder and cook over a very low heat for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Add the icing/powdered sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating well between each addition. You may not need all the sugar. Just add enough to make a coating consistency.

  • Leave to cool a little while preparing the apricot glaze.

  • You can buy apricot glaze in a jar in the U.K. which is ready to use, so just warm through about 6 tablespoons. In Canada, not being able to find apricot glaze, I use apricot jam. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 6 tablespoons of apricot jam to thin it a little, and gently heat to warm through. The jam will now be of a consistency to pass through a sieve to remove any pieces of fruit.

  • Invert one of the sponge layers and place on a serving plate. Using a palette knife, carefully coat the top with about a quarter of the glaze, then top with two good tablespoonfuls of the icing. Spread evenly over the jam.

  • Place the second cake on top and gently press down. Spread the sides and top with the remaining glaze using just enough to coat. Then spread the remaining icing over the whole cake.

  • Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and, over a plate, pull a potato peeler along the long smooth edge. This will make tiny slivers of chocolate. You will need about 28 g (1 oz). Scatter these on top of the cake to decorate.
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Updated July 22, 2018

Syllabub Trifle

Syllabub Trifle

A true summer trifle – one that is so simple but so light and delicious. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and redcurrants sit on a sponge base and are topped with a wine syllabub.

The syllabub originated in 16th century England. It was a drink of milk or cream curdled with a little wine or cider, sweetened and flavoured. In modern recipes a dessert syllabub is a thick or heavy cream curdled with wine or sherry, sweetened and flavoured, usually with lemon. It is whipped until thick and foamy.

Syllabub Trifle

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Standing time: 2 hours
  • Chilling time: 3 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 340 g (12 oz) a mix of strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants (2 cups)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (1½ tbsp)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine (¼ cup)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 mini sponge cases
  • 55 g (2 oz) caster/white sugar (¼ cup + 1 tsp)
  • 142 ml carton double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)

To serve

  • You will also need 4 x squat glass tumblers or similar pretty glasses for this recipe.


  • Method
  • Wash and pat dry the fruit. Hull and slice the strawberries and strip the redcurrants from their stalks. Place all the fruit in a bowl and sprinkle over 40 g (1½ oz) sugar. Toss to coat the fruit and set to one side for 2 hours to draw out the juices.
  • Measure the wine into a small bowl. Pare a couple of slices of rind from the lemon, cut them in half and add to the wine, making sure they are covered. Put to one side for 2 hours.

  • After the 2 hours, cut the sponge cases to fit the base of the four glasses. Divide the fruit and their juices between the four glasses, spooning over the sponge base.

  • Remove the lemon rind from the wine. Squeeze one and half tablespoons of juice from the lemon and add to the wine along with the remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

  • In a large bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Now slowly add the wine mixture, whisking continuously, until the cream mixture becomes thick and frothy. Spoon this equally over the fruit and swirl the top. Chill for 3 hours.

  • Serve.
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Updated: July 1, 2018

Orange Baked Sponge Pudding with Raspberry Jam

Orange Baked Sponge Pudding with Raspberry Jam

A sponge pudding to fill the family on those cooler days. Individual, light sponge puddings flavoured with orange and topped with raspberry jam.

Orange Baked Sponge Pudding with Raspberry Jam

4 servings
  • Preparation time: About 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened, (½ cup, or 1 stick) plus extra for greasing
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • ½ medium orange
  • 55 g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup + 1½ tsp)
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 115 g (4 oz) self raising/self-rising flour, sifted (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)

Equipment

  • You will also need 4 x 175 ml (6 fl oz) (1 cup) pudding basins or similar small rounded ovenproof dishes, and a deep sided tin/pan large enough to hold the four basins.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  • Grease the four pudding basins and put 1 tablespoon of jam in the bottom of each. Set aside.

  • Grate the zest from the orange and put to one side. Then squeeze out the juice and pour into a small jug.

  • Now beat the zest into the butter using an electric hand mixer.

  • Add the sugar and beat until light and creamy.

  • Then gradually whisk in the egg.

  • Fold in the flour, adding sufficient orange juice to give a soft dropping consistency. This is best done one tablespoon at a time.

  • Alternatively, use a free-standing mixer. Mix all the ingredients together, except for the orange juice. Then add the orange juice, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dropping consistency is reached.

  • Divide the mixture amongst the four basins and smooth the tops.

  • Now butter four pieces of foil, each large enough to cover the basins and fold over the sides.
  • Put the covered basins in the tin/pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basins. Bake for 40 minutes. The sponges will spring back when lightly pressed.
  • Carefully lift the basins out of the water. Run a small palette knife round the edge of the sponges, then turn them out onto four plates or dessert bowls.

  • Serve with cream or custard (optional).
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Updated: July 27, 2019

Fairy Cakes

Fairy Cakes

These dainty little fairy cakes are very easy to make. The light sponge and delicate flavoured buttercream make them enjoyable to be eaten with your favourite cuppa.

Fairy Cakes

9 or 12 cakes
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15–18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 140 g (5 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

  • For the filling
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 170 g (6 oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ cups)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • icing/powdered sugar to dust

Equipment

  • 12 cup, bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.


  • Method
  • For the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  • Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.

  • Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.

  • Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.

  • Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.

  • Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.

  • Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.

  • Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.

  • Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.

  • For the buttercream filling
  • Beat the butter until it is really soft.

  • Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.

  • To finish
  • Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.

  • Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.

  • Dust with icing/powdered sugar.
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Victoria Day Sponge Sandwich

Victoria Day Sponge Sandwich with Sprinkles

Next weekend is the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and, as we are having the family over, I shall make a special dessert to celebrate it.
Celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24 goes back to 1845 in Canada, so I thought I would base a cake on the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. Apparently, Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of cake with her afternoon tea and this cake was named after her.  All I have added is the maple leaf to symbolize the Canadian connection.

Victoria Day Sponge Sandwich

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30–35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For cake
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour/self rising flour (1 cup + 3 tbsp)
  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • For the filling and decoration
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 225 g (8 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp raspberry jam
  • icing sugar/powdered sugar for sifting
  • red sprinkles
  • maple leaf template. I printed a shape found on the internet and made sure the size would fit on the top of the cake

Equipment

  • 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, base lined and greased


  • Method
  • For cake
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)

  • Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.

  • Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)

  • Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. (When pressing a finger gently on top of the cake in the middle it should spring back and not leave a depression)

  • Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

  • Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
  • The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer. To make sure you get a good rise, add 1½ teaspoons baking powder.

  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.

  • For the filling
  • Beat the butter, then gradually beat in the icing sugar/powdered sugar until light and creamy. (A free-standing mixer does this in no time)

  • Warm the lemon juice and add to the butter icing.

  • Once the sponge is cool, invert one of the sponges and place on a plate. Reserve two tablespoons of the icing, spread the remaining buttercream over the sponge, and then cover evenly with the jam. Top with the remaining sponge.

  • For the decoration
  • Press a piece of kitchen paper over the top of the cake to absorb any excess moisture.

  • From the template, cut out the maple leaf, leaving the paper around it intact as you will be needing both pieces. Place the maple leaf section in the middle on top of the cake and, keeping this in place, thickly dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar around the edge. Carefully lift off the maple leaf template.

  • Now, using the other template, cover the icing sugar/powdered sugar. While holding this in place, spread the remaining buttercream over the middle of the cake. Then sprinkle a thick layer of the red sprinkles over the buttercream and gently press down so they stay in place. Very carefully lift off the template.
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Updated: July 3, 2017

Cherry Madeira Cake

Cherry Madeira Cake

This is a true classic cherry madeira cake and a slice is perfect with tea or coffee any time of day. The buttery, light texture has a hint of orange flavour and pieces of cherry are generously spread throughout.

Cherry Madeira Cake

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 170 g (6 oz) butter (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 1 orange
  • 140 g (5 oz) self-raising flour/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 170 g (6 oz) glacé cherries (1 cup + 1 tbsp)

Equipment

  • 15 cm (6 inch) cake tin, greased and lined


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F (gas mark 3)

  • First, rinse the cherries under cold water and then dry them. (This prevents them from sinking when baking). Then cut them into quarters.

  • Zest the orange and squeeze the juice from one half.

  • Sift the flours together in a bowl and then set aside.

  • In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (A little flour can be added between beating in the eggs to prevent the mixture from curdling.)

  • Beat the orange zest into the mixture.

  • Fold in the flours and then the glacé cherries.

  • Finally, add just enough orange juice to give a dropping consistency.

  • Spoon the mixture into the tin making a slight hollow in the centre with the back of the spoon.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle of the cake. Cover the cake with a sheet of baking parchment if the top starts to brown too quickly.

  • Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note

  • This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months, just defrost overnight before serving.

Tips

  • Butter that is at room temperature and not taken straight from the fridge will be softer and just right for creaming.

  • Always use eggs that are at room temperature. I tend to keep a bowl with half a dozen eggs in on the counter so there are always eggs at room temperature ready to use.

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Updated March 23, 2017