A couple of weeks ago the River Island press team asked me if I wanted to take part in their Great River Bake Off along with some fab bloggers and magazines, apparently the team had seem my Instagram feed full of Easter treats and thought I would be up for the challenge.
I am not always the best in the kitchen, I can be a little hit and miss when it comes to actually cooking a meal, but baking cakes is one of my favourite things to do and I do love a little competition among friends. So we all had to make a Victoria Sponge from the ingredients we were sent, it was just up to us about which recipe, how to decorate, and of course baking it!!!
I decided to make miniature Victoria Sponge cakes as when I was little I remember making these with my mum, but back then we used to make a large cake and then use a cookie cutter, but thanks to the genius that is Lakeland you can actually makes these little beauties with a special miniature sandwich tin tray, which I have to be honest makes it so much easier.
I was so pleased with how the miniature cakes came out and I think I have finally perfected the art of making great buttercream, so I was really chuffed to find out that the River Island team judged my cakes as the ‘Best Tasting’. Oh yeah I actually won, not the overall competition, but come on the taste of the cake is surely the most important!!!
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature – I like to leave out for at least an hour before
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter at room temperature
300g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 tsp strawberry jam
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
Cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. I use a free-standing mixer – the Kenwood K-Mix on a medium speed for about 3-4 minutes.
Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition, don’t forget to scrap down the sides of the bowl from time to time to make sure everything is mixed. Then add the vanilla extract and mix again.
Sift the flour and salt into the mixing bowl and fold in – either use the fold setting on your free-standing mixer or use a large metal spoon or rubber spatula to do by hand until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Divide the mixture between the Mini Sandwich Tin – roughly one heaped tablespoon – just over half way up on the tin, and level with a teaspoon.
Bake on the middle shelf of your preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden, well risen and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
Leave the cakes to rest in the tin for 5 minutes, this gives them time to cool to make it easier to remove. My tin has loose bottoms to the tray to make it easier to remove – do so carefully and run a knife round the edges if they are stuck to the sides. Place onto a wire rack and leave until cold.
While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream by cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale and light.
Cut each of the cakes in half, do this carefully so not to break the cakes. Spread the bottom layer with buttercream and the top with a teaspoon of jam and sandwich together. Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.
It was so much fun taking part and I love that I won the ‘Best Tasting’ cakes – thanks to the River Island press team for inviting me to take part and sending me the most adorable apron!!!
Want to see all the other entrants, and the overall winner Grazia head on over to River Island’s blog, the Style Insider.