Sunday, 8 July 2012

a village fete... a victoria sponge... a tea time treat

... as my long-suffering readers will know we are approaching the highlight in the calendar of village life, the Aby Village Show... I have written many times about my super-sized scones... my tales of woe and my 'so-called' friends who love to rub my nose in my losses... if you're thinking leafy lanes, rose-scented old ladies and paper doilies... think AGAIN people... this is serious... this is tape measure serious... this is war...

... so as usual, I am trying to get ahead and practice for the big day and I thought i'd start with a classic Victoria Sponge and as any member of the league of witchcraft (they call themselves the WI but we know better...) the classic Victoria Sponge is the Queen of the Cake Stall... the Royal Majesty of the Summer Fete... the Golden Rosette of the Village Show... master this and you will have master of them all... the keys to the secret of the WI universe no less...

... clearly I'm going off piste as usual... according to official WI book of cakes the classic Victoria Sponge calls for two 7inch sandwich tins and i'm using my very expensive 8 inch loose bottomed cake tins... the book also 'suggests' the three egg, 6oz / 6oz / 6oz method whereas i'm using the 'weigh the egg' method and using 2 eggs for each tin... clearly, if I want to stand a chance of winning I will need to go back to the 'traditional' method on the day of the show... I just feel stubborn today... i'm also not using sugar... i'm using a sugar alternative called truvia... truvia is a calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia leaf and I have very kindly been sent a little pot to review here on the blog and thought I ought to use it in an everyday classic kind of cake to see how it works... plus i'm thinking that because it's calorie-free I reckon I can have a slice or two more... just to make sure it tastes nice... ok?

a victoria sponge 
by looking at the packaging and the message you get from the website you kind of expect truvia to be a totally natural product and of course that's not quite the case and on opening the pot the most obvious thing that hit me was a waft of what I can only call 'fakeness'... it smelled really sweet and had a nutty almost vanilla aroma to it... not bad but regular sugar doesn't really have a strong smell and this smelt like over-compensation... however, it did mix well into the cake and on tasting the batter I am pleased to say it did taste good, if not a little too sweet...

... as with all substitution food there's a little converting that needs to be done and the truvia literature does advise not to eliminate regular sugar altogether as sugar adds a structure to cake you can't replicate so I used a third of regular sugar in my mix... I was slightly annoyed with the conversion charts on the truvia website, which is in US based cups... normally this wouldn't be a problem but because I was using the weighed egg method I had to do a triple conversion which was rather dull... come ON you people at Silver Spoon... if you're going to market a product to a new market... learn their baking language!

for each 8 inch cake tin you will need
2 large eggs and their weight in:
butter or margarine (for me it was 5oz)
self raising flour (for me it was 5oz)
and then 2oz of regular sugar and 4 tablespoons of truvia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- pre-heat oven to 150C (temperatures need to be reduced when baking with truvia) grease and line 2 8 inch cake tins

- in a large bowl mix the sugar, truvia and butter and beat with a wooden until pale and fluffy, add the vanilla

- add one egg and beat in followed by half the flour and beat in, then repeat with the remaining egg and flour

- pour into the first tin, then repeat the process for the second cake with 2 more eggs etc.

- bake for 30 mins or until golden and risen

...I have decorated mine with fresh cream, strawberry jam and fresh strawberry slices... heavenly...

... the verdict is that the cake tasted amazing... you can see from the pictures that it is well risen and has a light crumb... my only small nag is that a couple of minutes after eating a slice The Viking and I both reported an odd lining of the mouth... it could have been from the mammoth depth of whipped cream but I very much doubt it...

... I am of course entering this cake into this months Tea Time Treats the brilliant bloggers challenge hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and Karen from Lavender and Lovage which has the timely theme of Cake Stall Cakes... I think I could charge a proper fiver for each slice... what do you reckon?



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