It’s not my birthday, but it was a complete surprise! A last minute order of two birthday cakes from the restaurant was graciously handed to me with free reign to make whatever I like for the two separate birthday girls, age six and ten years old.
I have three Princess nieces and they all love pink. So it was to be a simple victoria sponge with butter cream and strawberry jam filling, a naturally coloured strawberry frosting and finally some poached chocolate decorations from Tom, the baker.
400g butter softened (salted)
400g caster sugar
400g self-raising flour
For the simple sponge:
1) Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
2) Add the eggs slowly. If any curdling occurs you can add a little of the flour . At this point, you can add vanilla extract if you like, but I think there is enough in the icing.
3) Add the flour and combine.
4) Spread into your 2 x 8inch cake tins (pre-covered in greaseproof paper) and bake on 200 for about 40-45 minutes. Now, here’s the thing I used a professional range cooker to bake, so non-fan assisted, no window and an intense heat up from the bottom. It took 50 minutes, although I could have probably got away with taking it out at 45, but still, longer than the sponges take in my Miele domestic oven (180 for 35mins).
For the filling:
1) Cream 250g icing sugar, 250g butter (good quality) and the inside of a vanilla pod together until whipped almost like cream (takes a little while – I used a Kitchen Aid)
2) Quality strawberry jam (sifting out any lumpy bits)
3) Spread jam onto the cooled sponge. Then spread over your creamed butter icing.
For the topping:
You can take the same creamed icing mixture as the filling and then using the strawberry jam (pressed through a sieve) you can create a fresh strawberry colour and flavour to the finish. Dress with fresh strawberries and chocolate drops or sticks…or quite frankly, whatever you can get your hands on!