Classic Victoria Sponge

The traditional Victoria Sponge (also known as ‘Victoria Sandwich’) is a baking classic, it is named after Queen Victoria who would enjoy a slice with afternoon tea. The filling which typically consists of whipped cream with jam, is sandwiched between soft, light sponges and the cake has no topping apart from a light dusting of icing sugar. For my Victoria Sponge I have decided to change it up a bit by using sweet vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam as my filling, as I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream. I can admit that it is not the neatest of cakes but it sure does deliver in taste and besides… looks aren’t everything!
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My stepfather loves making homemade jams, these are just a few of them! 
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Ingredients (makes a 20cm round cake, approx. 8 slices)
For the sponge:
200g stork tub for baking
200g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
175g icing sugar
88g unsalted butter (soft, at room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp strawberry/raspberry jam
Method
Preheat oven to 190C and line two 20cm round baking tins with baking parchment (see below for instructions).
  1. In a large bowl beat the caster sugar and stork together until light and creamy. Then gradually beat in the eggs along with a little flour each time. Once all eggs are added, sift in the baking powder and remaining flour and fold mixture together until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Divide equally between the cake tins and level out with a palette knife. TIP – to prevent uneven rising, lightly tap your baking tins on the side to release any air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until cakes are a golden brown colour and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  3. Tip cakes out onto a cooling rack and peel of any baking parchment. Leave to completely cool.
  4. Whilst cakes are cooling, make up a simple vanilla buttercream by first creaming the butter until light and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until mixture is creamy and light.
  5. When cakes are cool, take your first cake and use this as your base (choose the cake with a flatter top). Spread your buttercream all over the top of the cake evenly. Dollop your jam on top of the buttercream and spread it across evenly.
  6. Finally, sandwich your second cake on top and dust with icing sugar for a classic appearance.
How to line a round baking tin…
1. Place your baking tin on a piece of grease proof paper and draw round the tin with a pencil.
2. Take the baking tin off the paper and cut out the circle marking you have just made.

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3. Next cut out a long thick strip of grease proof paper (this will fit round the inner edges of your tin, so make sure it is long enough to reach all the way around, and thick enough to reach past the height of the tin).
4. Fold the top of one edge of the strip and make little cuts all the way across, roughly 2 cm’s apart. 
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4. Grease the tin with a little butter. Take the long strip of greaseproof and fit it inside the tin with the cut edges flat down on the bottom of the tin. Stick the paper to the edge of the tin.
5. Finally place the circle of greaseproof paper on top of the cut edges in the base of the tin and flatten down.
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Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Having not posted in a while I knew that this one had to extra damn special. So what better than a chewy, soft baked cookie that isn’t lacking on the chocolate hit.
For years I have been trying to achieve the flavour and texture of the incredible ‘Millies Cookies’ and I think, nope I’m pretty certain, I must of just cracked it with this recipe!!!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cookies)

125g unsalted butter (at room temp)
75g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg (cold from the fridge)
200g chocolate chopped into small chunks (milk, dark or white – or a combination of all of them!)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease/line a baking tray (may have to use two depending on the size of your trays)

In a bowl cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and crack in the egg and mix.

Add the flour and chocolate chunks and fold until the mixture is combined and has formed a dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour (you can leave it over night if you wish).

Once your cookie dough has chilled, take approx. a tablespoon of the cookie dough, roll into a ball and place it onto the baking tray, do not flatten it out as it will expand in the oven. Repeat this for all 12 cookies leaving roughly 2 inches between each one.

Bake in the oven for between 12-14 minutes until the edges are a pale brown but the middle still looks slightly uncooked. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool (the cookies will continue to cook and harden a little as they cool).