It’s my favourite time of the year. There is nothing more delightful than the sun, blazing in all its glory, creating delicious humidity and a hot mess. Thankfully, my Bandra studio has a trusty magic machine to cool it to an agreeable 18 degrees. My summer repertoire has unsung heroes, glorious fruits, pillowy cakes and afternoon naps. As we-I, live through this godawful pandemic, surrounded by panic and paranoia, I’ve begun to, along with my trusty magic human (Dr A) re-engineer the panic and the paranoia into dreams of picnics, parties and proficiency.
Well, achieving proficiency is the key. Since picnics and parties are *insert terrible words* (yet) impossible. Now, I may be a proficient baker, but my memory and archiving skills are nought, zeeeeerow, naaadaaa.
So, this post is step one towards achieving proficiency level one. And, solely for me to remember a recipe and prevent me from calling 4 bakers, 1 aunty, 2 friends, opening 61 million tabs of tips, recipes, hacks and re-watching 12 saved videos, for a vanilla-sodden sponge cake I’ve now baked at least 9 times.
You may leave now. Or you make proceed. In the words of the great 21st-century poetess Tarini B “You Do You, Boo”.
Righto! This basic (af) cake has a rather mighty-tighty name, with its own Article too, The Victoria Sponge Cake or if you’ve exited the European Union you might call it The Genoise Sponge Cake. As old as the living queen herself, this product has reigned over ovens since it began reigning over ovens.
To conjure up this miracle, I will need the A B C.
Buh Wait – I/you need some Beyonce level confidence. Some baseball-bat swinging, omelette coloured, Roberto Cavalli wearing confidence before I/you begin. Here’s the recommended OST for this cake!
The A B Cs
A for- An EQUAL measure of – Amul Butter, regular, store-bought flour, and organic eggs, the ones with stickers on it, or the ones packed in faux hay. It’s desperately important to weigh these 3 ingredients to an EQUAL measure. Get a kitchen scale you savage.
B for – Baking powder and a bit of milk, what a glorious invention, here’s where chemistry truly comes alive, and look I know stealing milk from a cow to put in a cake is not okay, but on a scale of 1 to nuclear weapons…
C for – Could you please buy good quality vanilla.
PS – Equal is Equal to 225g each of butter and sugar and flour and 4 large eggs.
Cream an EQUAL amount of butter and an EQUAL amount of sugar. Really well, and really carefully with love, beat it after you’ve placed your bowl on a kitchen towel. You butter believe it, this beating is essential in yielding a pillowy sponge. Introduce an EQUAL amount of eggs into the creamed stuff. Together or one at a time, depending on how much you love cleaning egg of the walls of your kitchen! “You Do You, Boo”.
Sieve an EQUAL amount of flour, a generous pinch each of salt and a very generous heaped teaspoon of baking powder. To this add Vanilla. Extract, essence, bourbon, Tahitian, or Madagascar, “You Do You, Boo”. Proceed for the final fold until all is mixed. I always add a bit (2 and/or 3 tablespoons) of milk to loosen up the batter. I’ve also used warm water once. Fold, fold, mix, mix until the final batter is gloopy yet pliable, droppable yet spreadable. Line and butter the tins, before you even begin the A B Cs. I never remember to do this, and always muck up the tins with my buttery-battery fingers. Neverwho, a gentle wipe down with a kitchen roll works just fine. Swish and swash and level the batter with a spatula, tap the tin gently and commit it into a pre-heated at 230 degrees for 30 mins oven for 20 maybe 25 mins at 170 degrees.
The miracle needs to bake until you stab it with something and the something emerges unbloodied by the innards. You just have to let it cool completely before you un-tin it. Now use all your god-gifted inventiveness and adorn these miracles. I’ve used castor sugar, whipped cream and sugar, strawberries, mangoes, jams, and ice-cream. I intend on using choco chips, ganache, kiwis, compote in the future.