I don’t know what it is, there must be something in the air, but there seems to be a bit of a theme running around a few of my favourite food blogs at the moment. Perhaps it’s that subtle changing of the season, that slight chill in the morning air and the whisper of Autumn on the wind. Like a lot of people, I love the Autumn, but at the same time I’m a little sad to be thinking of saying goodbye to the Summer. And when one’s feeling a little bit sad and perhaps a little insecure at the thought of the long Winter ahead, what better comfort than a fresh, home-baked cake. Something about baking a cake reminds me of home and Mum and the time in my life when I didn’t have to worry about anything past homework and making mix tapes from the radio. Well, and glitter hair gel.
It’s not often I bake an entire cake. There are only two of us, after all, and it seems such an extravagance when you know most of it isn’t going to be eaten. So other than Birthdays and fancy holidays I tend to stick to little things which can be frozen or sent off with Mr P to work to be shared around his office. But I haven’t been feeling the greatest the last couple of days, like having an almost-cold, where your head feels too heavy for your neck and all you want to do is sit and, well, Sit. And all I really wanted, in the whole world, was Cake.
When in the mood for an edible hug, you don’t want to go getting all fancy and frilly, you just want a good ol’ fashioned something, so I baked up a quick but delicious Victoria Sponge, dolloped a whole lot of Kumquat jam in the middle and smothered it in a rich Chocolate Ganache. Oh, and not only was it super yum-ti-dum, but the art of making something great in the kitchen magically lifted my mood. I hardly even cared about eating it in the end! Okay, I’m lying now.
*note: I learned from Nigella Lawson to put a little cornflour in with the flour. It lightens the cake a lot.
Chocolate Orange Victoria Sponge
for the cake:
200 g unsalted butter, very soft
150 g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g Flour
20 g corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 – 4 Tbsp milk
for the ganache:
100 g dark chocolate, chopped (I used Calebaut 70%)
60 ml cream
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch ground cinnamon
Kumquat jam or orange marmalade
– preheat the oven to 350˚ F
– beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy
– beat in the vanilla
– add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each with a 1 Tbsp of the flour
– mix the flours and baking powder together and fold into the cake mix
– lighten the mixture with as much of the milk as you need
– bake in 2 greased, lined cake tins at 350˚F for 20 – 25 mins
– let the cakes cool completely before making the ganache
– put the all the ganache ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring continuously until the chocolate is melted.
– when the choc mix is smooth, bring to the boil for not more than one minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken a bit before icing the cake. You want it to pour over the cake, but not just run right off.
– when the cake and ganache are ready, place four strips of paper in a square on the plate you’re serving the cake on, leaving the middle bare. Place the bottom layer on the plate, spread a generous amount of jam on it and put the second layer on top. Cover with ganache, letting it run here and there down the sides. When the ganache has set and stopped running, remove the strips of paper and your plate will be clean and neat!