Tag Archives: cocoa

Victoria Sponge with a Difference

8 May

And the difference of course, is chocolate. Cocoa to be precise. In fact, every bit of this recipe needs you to be precise. The secret of a great Vic Sponge, light, fluffy and downright delicious, is precise measurements. Normally I’m more laid-back with quantities and have been known to throw in a bit of this, chuck in a bit of that, add more flour or less, depending on how the mixture looks. But not with the old Vic. Oh no. Precision is the name of the game. Digital scales are your friend when making this particular cake.

Chocolate Victoria Sponge with vanilla buttercream icing

However, it’s important to remember that this is also the easiest cake in the universe. Ok maybe there are easier ones, but this recipe really is a doddle, quick to whizz up, a short time in the oven, and in less than a couple of the hours, on the table while you sit back and bask in the compliments.

So here we go. You’ll need two 20cm “sandwich” tins, well greased and bottom lined. You’ll also need scales and a sieve, and a couple of bowls, one large, one small. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

INGREDIENTS

3 large free range eggs – crack them into the small bowl and weigh them! They’ll be about 175 g
175g (or equivalent weight of eggs) of each of the following: caster sugar; softened butter; self-raising flour.
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons milk

METHOD 

  1. Whizz the butter and sugar together until really light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and blend well.
  3. Now place the sieve over the large bowl and add the two tablespoons of cocoa.
  4. Add the flour until the scales read 175 g (or equivalent weight of eggs)
  5. Fold in the flour/cocoa  and then add the milk, folding gently with a metal spoon.
  6. divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.

ICING

4 – 5 table spoons strawberry or apricot jam, slightly warmed.
150 g softened butter
300 g icing sugar

METHOD

  1. Whizz the icing sugar and butter together to make a nice thick, smooth, butter cream.
  2. Place one cake on a serving plate.
  3. Spread the top of the cake with the warmed jam.
  4. Then spread on half the butter cream.
  5. Place the second cake on top and smooth on the remaining butter cream.
  6. Decorate with pretty sugar paste flowers (optional – haha!)

It’s a lovely light cake and a versatil recipe and the jam makes the cake supermoist. Have fun trying out different combinations 🙂

Chocolate Victoria Sponge

The seal of approval!

One of my regular cakefans

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It’s snowing…only chocolate cake will do

5 Feb

Nowadays, chocolate cakes are usually made with melted chocolate. But back in the days when I started baking from my mom’s old recipe books, chocolate cakes were always made with cocoa. I really have no idea why this is – perhaps it was  just a more economical way of baking.

I’ve decided to get back to the old cocoa-based recipes and had a go at one today. A nice heart-warming choccie cake is perfect on a snowy day.  Actually it’s perfect on any sort of day but I needed an excuse. Or a reason.

I use cocoa in two ways – either by mixing it into a paste or by removing an equivalent amount of flour and replacing it with the powdered cocoa. The paste, I think, gives a richer-tasting result.

These quantities will make one large round cake (about a 23cm tin) or a rectangular tray bake – use a brownie tin – or divide the mixture between two 20cm round tins and sandwich together. Today, I simply made one large round cake.

INGREDIENTS

5 tablespoons cocoa (proper cocoa, NOT sweetened drinking chocolate!)
5 tablespoons boiling water
230 g butter
230 caster sugar
280 g self raising flour
2 teasppons baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons milk

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and prepare the tin or tins with baking paper.
  2. Place the cocoa in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Mix to a smooth paste – it may take some time to incorporate all the lumpy bits but persevere. Leave the bowl on a window sill to cool down.
  3. Chuck all the other ingredients in a mixer and beat to a smooth batter. Don’t you just love a beat and mix cake? I do.
  4. If you don’t have a standard mixer or a food processor you can do it quite easily in a large bowl. Beat the butter first with a wooden spoon, then beat in the sugar, and finally everything else. Give it a good thrashing to get it smooth and light.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin or tins and bake for 40 minutes (one cake) or 30 minutes if using two tins. Test for done-ness but remember, slightly undercooked is better than overcooked where a cake like this is concerned.
  6. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
chocolate cake
ICING
For one cake – 200 g icing sugar, 100 g butter, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
For two cakes, sandwiched together –  300 g  icing sugar, 150 g butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder.
2 tablespoons apricot jam
METHOD
  1. Weigh out the icing sugar, then remove 2 (or 4) tablespoons from it.
  2. Add 2 (4) tablespoons cocoa to the icing sugar.
  3. Place in blender with the softened butter and whizz until smooth.
  4. Warm the apricot jam in the microwave for 30 seconds, then brush over the surface of the cooled cake. This is helpful in two ways – it makes the cake nice and moist, and forms a crumb-free barrier between the cake and the icing. I remember an old auntie telling me about brushing cake surfaces with apricot jam and it works brilliantly! Nobody ever tucks in and says, “Ooh, this chocolate cake tastes of apricot jam!”  they just say, “Mmmmmsnarfelnomnom.”
  5. When the jam has cooled on the cake, slap on the icing and spread it around with a palette knife. I like to flick up little peaks with the tines of a fork, then sprinkle on chocolate sprinklies for added overkill.
This cake is best eaten on the day it’s baked. That’s a joke actually, because it’s always eaten on the day it’s baked. I’m sure it will keep in an airtight tin for a couple of days. 😉

Chocolate cake

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