Sunday, 3 July 2016

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes, Birthdays and Elections

We are halfway through the school holidays and it has been a whirlwind of busy times without much down time.  Sylvia has had swimming intensive in the mornings and we have had quite a few afternoons where I worked and she went to a holiday program.  On Thursday we had a free afternoon at home.  Sylvia had been reading her cookbooks and had her heart set on making mini Victoria sponges.  

I have made a vegan Victoria sponge cake before.  The one Sylvia chose had 4 eggs.  Too many for my liking.  Yet it is a favourite of E, her Scottish dad.  Maybe this sort of cake is in her blood.  On both sides of her family.  My mum's sponge cakes were light with no butter added but we had this sort of cake that I just called plain cake.  Other people call it butter cake, vanilla cake or pound cake.

I often bake with oil or margarine.  I can see that it is a good experience to learn some basics of baking.  This is the sort of recipe where you watch butter go from bright to pale yellow as you cream butter and sugar.  Sylvia helped with reading the recipe, beating, cracking eggs, and decorating.

The main challenge was finding appropriate small cake tins.  I have two round ones I got from my grandmother and four small heart shaped tart tins.  The round ones were quite high so I sliced these in half.  The heart ones were far more shallow and baked quicker.  I sandwiched these together in twos.  The cakes were quite sturdy with all the butter and easy to handle.

A traditional Victoria sponge is made with equal weights of butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  This one had 225g each of butter, sugar, flour (and 220g eggs if you use 55g eggs) but I am more comfortable with the cups measures.  It could easily be halved or even quartered to make less mini cakes.

Victoria sponge also has jam with cream or buttercream (always buttercream for E) and is merely topped with a dusting of powdered icing sugar.  However I am not much of a traditionalist.  I wanted to have fun with icing.  I followed the recipe and added 2 cups of icing sugar to the buttercream recipe.  It was far too stiff to spread and needed thinning.

Sylvia and I chose a cake each to decorate with buttercream.  We filled one cake with jam and buttercream and the others were filled with nutella and buttercream.  For fun.  On top of the two un-iced cakes, we sifted icing sugar with had a go at using a stencil to sift hot chocolate powder in dots.  (This last part was much harder than it sounded.)

We ate the cake for dessert that night.  It was yellow and fluffy inside like a proper Victoria sponge.  I enjoyed it.  Yet I actually prefer the vegan sponge.  Or if I had had my druthers I would have made a batch of peppermint patty slice.  At least she ate a small bowl of our favourite pilaf for dinner.

The following night we left the remaining Victoria sponges behind to eat dinner in Geelong at the Clarendon Hotel with my family for a couple of birthdays.  The cake was this impressive rainbow sponge cake.

I had meant to head home the next morning, especially as it was the day of our national elections and I planned to vote locally.  (Voting is compulsory in Australia.)  However Sylvia's cousins came over to play and so we stayed.  Unfortunately this is the only opportunity we have to catch up with them during the holidays.

So instead I went to the local primary school near my parents' home to vote.  Here is the handful of how to vote cards that were pushed into my hand as I walked in.  I didn't leave until 35 minutes later after queuing and scratching my head over the huge senate ballot form (38 parties) that was too large to lay flat in the polling booth.

We were home last night in time for tea and to watch the election on the telly.  It was a most unsatisfactory night's viewing.  The votes were so close that I heard this morning that we might not have a result until Tuesday.  Australia has had its fair share of leadership and government changes over the past decade.  The world has seen this week how serious the ramifications of a divided party can be. (Brexit!)  I still live in hope of a strong and compassionate leader for our country.  Unfortunately this year does not seem the year for it.

I am sending this cake to Jibber Jabber for Love Cake which has the theme of Garden Party this month; to The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi for Treat Petite; and Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla for Inheritance Recipes.

More plain vanilla cakes on Green Gournet Giraffe:
Avocado pound cake with cream cheese frosting 
Butterless butter cake
Plain butter cake
Sourdough vanilla sponge cake (v)  
Vegan Victoria sponge cake (v) 

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes
From Grandma's Recipes

225g butter
1 cup (225g) castor sugar
4 eggs
2 cups (225g) self raising flour

75g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 - 2 cups icing sugar
jam or nutella
icing sugar to dust

Grease and line six to eight 10cm cake tins.  Preheat oven to 180 C.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, beating after each egg.  Gradually beat in the flour.  The batter is quite thick.  Spoon batter into the prepared tins, smoothing the top of each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched on top.  (I had a couple of thicker cakes that took longer to cook.)  Cool on a wire rack.

To fill the cakes, first made the buttercream icing by creaming butter, vanilla and gradually adding icing sugar until you have a thick icing.  I had four cakes that were paired up to sandwich together and two cakes that I sliced open and filled.  So either pair up cakes or slice them open and spread buttercream on one slice, top with jam or nutella.  Sandwich other cake on top.  Sieve icing sugar on top (or if you want to be pretty, use leftover buttercream to ice and decorate).

On the Stereo:
Super Trouper: ABBA


  1. I love your mini sponge cakes - they are so cute, and I especially like the one with the hearts around the edge. I am an ABBA fan so Super Trouper is now going through my head.

  2. OH yes the election! We flicked to that occasionally on Saturday night while we were watching tv and dissatisfying is a good way to describe it!

  3. I love your decorating efforts and the heart cakes are beautiful. It sounds like a fun school holiday activity with Sylvia, and as you say, learning traditional cake making isn't a bad thing - even if the vegan version wins out for you!

  4. Cute cakes - I bet Sylvia had a lovely time making them. Some of my best memories from when I was little are of helping in the kitchen. Oh the election...gah! We will see what happens, won't we? I hate heading in to the booths and having everyone try and hand me their how to vote cards. I already know how I will cast my vote well before I go there so I always decline them (politely, of course!)

  5. Thank you for sharing this with Inheritance Recipes. My girls also love to help in the kitchen... especially in baking cakes :)
    This Scottish sponge cake recipe with generous amount of butter sounds divine. In Polish cuisine we also use a lot of butter rather than vegetable shortening or oil.

  6. How perfect are those sponge cakes!!! They look so lovely!

  7. How cute is that. Absolutely lovely, thank you so much for sharing with #inheritancerecipes. Let's just not mention Brexit at the minute a sour subject for all these that love diversity

  8. Ha! You've realised what a mess the UK is in at the moment thanks to the current round of voting. Here we have a designated polling station based on your home address and that's the only one we can go to in person. If you know you can't make it you can apply for a postal vote in advance. Anyway onto the important matters - cake! I love the selection of decorations you've given the cakes. Can't beat a good Victoria sponge.

  9. Your cakes sound great! And you and Sylvia decorated them so prettily =)
    The rainbow cake is very impressive as well! I would love to try making something like that someday.
    Ah voting. I'm not allowed to vote as I'm a Canadian living in the United States. It's frustrating. Your ballot boxes also look frustrating though ;)

  10. Those polling booth, the lines are crazy, and they still don't know who's going to run the country. But on to better and brighter things your cakes look adorable. xxx

  11. What lovely little cakes and they are so cutely decorated!

  12. Cute cakes! So lovely to hear that Sylvia is enjoying the baking and that she knows what she wants!
    I didn't realise that voting was compulsory in Australia. I wonder how that would have affected the Brexit vote if we were all made to vote in the UK. But 38 parties to choose from sounds a little excessive!

  13. And I thought deciding who to vote for in the UK was confusing! Looks like you have a much harder job. Your mini victoria sponges look gorgeous, thank you for entering them into Treat Petite!


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