Clap, go on…just do it. BAM! See that? That’s how fast this past year has gone. I know I’m about to sound like a walking cliché, but my oh my how time flies. I remember my parent’s using that phrase on repeat and as an 8-year-old thinking, does it? Does it really? These summer holidays feel like they are going forever, you guys are crazy. But, jiminy crickets, they were right…again.
It’s been one year today that I sat down and wrote my first blog post. I truly cannot believe it. Whilst so much has happened since last March – started this blog, quit my job/career in HR, enrolled into culinary school, started my catering business, bought a home, I’m still not any more technologically proficient than I was 1 year ago, ugh total fail.
Anyway, I would like to give a big virtual smooch to those of you who have taken the time to read/comment/cook my recipes. You don’t know how much of a massive kick I get when someone across the other side of the world has cooked a recipe I’ve posted and loved it as much as I have. Heck, I even get excited when my bestie tries out one of my recipes. Seriously it’s the coolest.
So when it came to deciding what I would make for my one year blogaversary (that one’s for you Dr), it really came down to one thing…cake, but what cake? When it comes to cake I’m actually not into overly complex cakes, like a gateaux or anything super heavy, I really do just love a good ol’ fashioned sponge, so that’s what I decided to do. That’s not to say that I didn’t tart it up for my (and your) tasting pleasure. I glazed the strawberries in a balsamic syrup and added some shreds of basil…heaven. For those of you who haven’t tried the balsamic/strawberry combo, do yourself a favour, it works, I promise.
Victoria Sponge with balsamic glazed strawberries and basil
The cake that I made was made in a 12 cm tin but the recipe I used was for two 20 cm tins, so I will give you that recipe and you can adapt it to the tin size you have.
What you need:
For the sponge (makes 2x 20 cm tins): sponge recipe from here
- 2 heaped tsp plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- wheat cornflour
- 4 eggs
- 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
To decorate (for a 12cm sized sponge):
- 1 cup whipping/thickened cream
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 punnets (500g) strawberries
- small handful of basil leaves, shredded
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F (170C/340F fan forced)
Line the bottom and sides of your cake tins with baking paper. The baking paper should come up about 5cm above the rim of the cake tin as this cake really rises and you don’t want to take any chances.
In a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 7 mins on high speed. Meanwhile, take a 1 cup measuring vessel and place your 2 heaped tsp of flour, bicarb of soda, cream of tartar and then fill the rest up to 1 cup with cornflour. Sift this mixture three times and set aside.
After the eggs and sugar are done, add the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.
Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and gently add in the flour and beat for about 1 min, just until the flour is incorporated.
Fill the cake tins half-way and bake for 20-25 mins. The cake is ready when it springs back when you touch it and it is starting to come away from the sides of the cake tin.
When the cake is ready, take it out of the tin and let it cool completely on a cake rack that has been covered with baking paper.
To decorate the cake, half all the strawberries. In a small saucepan, pop in the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Add about ¾’s of the strawberries and simmer until the strawberries have softened (you don’t want them to break apart). Take out the strawberries and then let the balsamic mixture boil until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Take off the heat and add the strawberries back in and set aside to cool.
Whip the cream and caster sugar until firm peaks.
Cut the cake into two or three levels depending on your preference. Spread the cream on the base of each layer and then top with some strawberries and shredded basil. When you get to the top of the cake, spread some of the cream and then top with fresh strawberries, a drizzle of the leftover balsamic syrup and basil. If you prefer you could just dust the top with icing sugar.