Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Tanya Bakes: Victoria Sponge

Hi my lovelies! I've got a bit of a different post for you all today. I feel like I say that practically all of the time, but I genuinely haven't ever done a post like this before, so it's very exciting for me - I hope you find it somewhat exciting too!

As soon as I saw tweets about Tanya Bakes being available for pre-order on Amazon, I knew I had to get in there straight away and snap one up for myself. Now originally, I couldn't actually get a copy, because they had sold out in a flash, but thankfully, another batch was added, so I made an order as quickly as I possibly could. Getting that confirmation email literally made my entire month - I'm not even joking or exaggerating when I say that! I've always loved baking, but I've never really had much guidance, apart from my grandma, who I only ever really used to bake sweet treats with. Don't get me wrong, my grandma's both a great cook and a great baker, but as I've gotten older, I don't get to go there quite as often anymore, so I'd like to be able to practise myself and then bake for her and my other loved ones to show them what I'm capable of when it comes to my culinary skills.  

Tanya Burr is quite possibly my favourite YouTuber. I'm aware that this is quite a big statement to make, especially as there are so many YouTubers out there nowadays, but I genuinely do mean that. She has always been so genuine and down to earth and it seems to me that she quite literally radiates kindness and positivity. I feel like she has remained so true to herself and even as her follower count expands over time, she is still the exact same Tanya that once started posting videos online back in 2009. I've already got her first book 'Love, Tanya' in my collection, but I'm yet to try out the new releases from her Soft Luxe range. Once I do get my hands on all of the products though, I will be doing a full, in-depth blog post all about them, so don't fret just yet!

Anyway, onto the actual post itself. So, I'm not sure how many of you know this fact about me, but I'm actually a very keen baker. Ever since I was a little girl, I used to bake cupcakes with my grandma and I'd help her with the Christmas cake and the Christmas pudding when the time came about too. Of course, she needed her glamorous assistant to lend a helping hand and to lick the bowl out every once in a while, so naturally, that was my duty (oops, sorry grandma!). Since it's just her and my granddad most of the time now, as my older sister is out quite a lot during both the day and the evenings, she doesn't tend to bake all that much anymore, because there's just no point. Why go to all that effort for just 2 people? It would make no sense! That's where I come in. I don't just bake for myself (I'm not that greedy, I promise..), but I bake for the people around me too. I'm not saying I'm necessarily just going to bake cakes and sweet treats, but I'm also hoping to branch out and try new things with the help of this baking book. Maybe I'll even be doing savoury snacks one day - who knows?

It's no secret that I'm not quite as talented as Mary Berry, but by trying out new recipes and learning along the way, I'm sure I'll keep getting better as time goes on. Practise makes perfect after all, right?

So, the first recipe that I tried out was Tanya's Victoria Sponge Cake. It's just a classic, so it only felt right for me to make it centre of attention of my very first proper baking post.
Everyone loves a Victoria Sponge Cake. That's just a given! Tanya usually makes one if she has friends over for afternoon tea and I think that's the perfect idea., if I'm honest.
I originally was a little sceptical when thinking of how I would actually make this cake look anything like it does in the book, but to my surprise, it was a lot easier than I imagined.

Fist of all, you need to make sure that you have all of the ingredients required for this cake. Tanya's recipe serves 8-10 people, so I followed those measurements that were given, which are going to be the ones that I follow within this post. You can always halve them or double them or do whatever else you please, but I'm just following the book and what I personally did to create this Victoria Sponge. It takes around 15 minutes to prepare and then it takes around 25 minutes to cook. I never stick to the time, because I think they should just be treated as averages. It probably took me more like 20 minutes to prepare, but I guess it depends what speed you work at when in the kitchen.

Tanya states that you will need 2 x 21cm round loose-bottomed cake tins, but I just used the circular cake tins that I could find in the cupboard, so I don't think it really matters, as it doesn't need to be perfectly accurate anyway! It's just going to be eaten in the end, so who really cares?

As far as the ingredients go, you will need:
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

That's for the actual cake itself. For the filling, I did it slightly differently to Tanya herself. Where she had a cream layer and a jam layer in her sponge, I decided to steer away from the cream and make my own buttercream instead. So, once again, I'm going to give you the recipe from the book, but if you want to do what I did, ignore the bit about the double cream and just make buttercream instead, which you can Google, but it's literally just butter and icing sugar mixed together.

For the filling, you will need:
200ml double cream
1 jar strawberry jam
1 punnet fresh strawberries

To decorate:
A couple of strawberries
Icing sugar, for dusting

The first thing that you will have to do is quite simply preheat the oven to 180ºC if your oven uses Celsius, but if not, that's equivalent to 350ºF or Gas Mark 4. You then need to grease the cake tins and line them with greaseproof paper. I normally grease my cake tins with butter, but this time I didn't have any greaseproof paper, so I'd highly suggest that you get some before baking this Victoria Sponge, as otherwise you could face some difficulties later on.

Next up, you need to cream together the butter and the sugar until it appears to be a light and fluffy mixture. Just keep beating it up and using your muscles to ensure that there are no lumps and there is no residue around the outside of your mixing bowl. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, whisk in the eggs and the vanilla extract. I cracked the eggs first and added them in and then started mixing it up and once the eggs had been mixed in thoroughly, I added in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and continued to mix. After that, I weighed up the flour and gradually sifted it in, mixing after each sift full had been added. I then popped in the teaspoon of baking powder and a tiny bit of salt and mixed to my hearts content until it formed a smooth batter.

Once you have got your desired smooth batter, you have to evenly distribute the mixture between the two cake tins. My mum suggested that I put one spoonful in the first tin and then the next spoonful in the second tin. One still had more mixture than the other, but it didn't make any difference - just try and be as accurate as you can though! You want to make sure that the mixture is spread across the whole tin, but not to the point where it's right up in the corners, as then it could burn and mess up your whole bake. You want to leave them in the oven for 25 minutes or until they appear to have risen nicely and turned into a golden colour. You can always pop a skewer or a knife into the centre of the cake and see if it comes out clean. It's totally up to you as to what technique you use to check if your cake is done! You then want to leave it in the tin to cool and then transfer it to a wire rack to let it cool down completely. My mum and I made the mistake of taking the first cake out of the tin too soon and so it began to crumble and fall apart a little, but next time, we're going to wait longer and use greaseproof paper in both cake tins!

For the filling, I just created the buttercream in a separate bowl by beating together butter and icing sugar. If you want to follow Tanya's recipe exactly, then you just want to whisk the cream in a bowl until, it's leak and peaks form. You then spread one cake with a thick layer of strawberry jam (just straight from the container) and then I personally put the buttercream all over the other layer and just gently placed it on top. It's quite a tricky step, but just take your time and remember that the cream and jam don't have to reach right to the edge of the sponge, because it will do so once you cut the cake.

Tanya added a layer of strawberries into the filling of her cake, but I didn't do that, as I wanted it to last me a few days, so I was able to share it with relatives, rather than eat it all in one sitting. I then just added a few strawberries on the top and sprinkled a light dusting of icing sugar on the top to serve. 

And, there we have it - My finished Victoria Sponge Cake! I really hope you liked this post, as it's not really like anything that I've ever done before. Would you like to see more baking on my blog in the future? Let me know and I'll include it some more if that's what you all want. Also, I'm interested to know if you have Tanya Bakes or if it's a book that you're looking to get soon? Share your thoughts down below!


Lots of love always,


Jade xo


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