Friday, 8 June 2012

Victoria Sponge with Balsamic Strawberry Jam

I love a good cake and they don't get much better than a classic Victoria sponge. It's got all you need in a cake; light, sweet, buttery sponge with fruity, slightly sharp jam sticking it all together. It is debated which jam is the best; strawberry, raspberry or even blackcurrant. Strawberry would always win for me and when I saw a lonely punnet of English strawberries at the greengrocer's I had to buy it. After debating what to make with my edible purchase I set about putting a twist on this traditional cake.
It goes without saying that your sponge must be magnificent but I think the jam is just as important as both the literal and metaphorical glue that holds this cake together. As much as I like the fruitiness and sweetness of strawberry jam I enjoy the faint acidity that comes with it. To increase the tang in my jam I wanted to incorporate some balsamic vinegar.

You will need:
3 eggs, beaten
Butter, at room temperature
Sugar
Self raising flour
Vanilla extract
1 punnet of ripe strawberries
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Strawberry jam
I use the tried and tested method of weighing your eggs and then weighing the butter, sugar and flour to the same weight. It always works for me. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then add the eggs bit by bit and the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and then put into two greased 7 inch sandwich tins and bake at 170C for 25-30 minutes. If you press your finger lightly to the top of the cake it should spring back when done.
I made jam once before and it took forever. There's only so long you can stand with a sugar thermometer in a pan of boiling fruit before you start to think that runny jam won't be all that bad. I'm glad I persevered with my preserve as it was wonderful but such a faff. I wasn't about to go through it all again so I sort of cheated a little bit by making less jam than necessary and topping it up with some pre-existing.
Remove the green parts of the strawberries and cut into quarters. Put them into a saucepan with a sprinkling of sugar and heat gently until you have a strawberry mush. You can of course use a masher to speed things up a little. Add the balsamic vinegar and then cook on a high heat until it's thickened. Remove it from the heat and leave it to cool a little before mixing in a little readymade strawberry jam. If you do it this way it doesn't matter if the balsamic strawberries are a little thin as the pre-made jam should help keep everything nice and sticky.
When the sponges have cooled, ladle on the balsamic strawberry jam and stick the two halves together. I'm not sure whether icing or caster sugar should top the cake but I went for icing sugar; it's more romantic somehow.
There's nothing quite the same as a homemade cake; the smell that fills the house and creates such anticipation and when it is finally rewarded. This cake was divine, perhaps not perfect, it was just what I wanted it to be. It had a long-established, recognisable flavour with new interest and intrigue at the same time. The balsamic strawberry jam added not only extra tartness but also additional fruitiness and depth. It was a cake that mixed the well known with the new and one I will definitely be making again.

27 comments:

  1. What a perfect example of a victoria sponge my friend, best cake ever :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  2. What a nice summery cake. And the balsamic is heaven with strawberries!

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  3. Great cake! I have to put this on my ever increasing list - but first I have to figure out, how to eat all the things still in my fridge.
    Well, I like the part with balsamic vinegar in the jam!

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  4. Lovely sponge cake with strawberries! I've never tried balsamic vinegar & strawberry combo! This sounds interesting & good! Love to try this recipe with the strawberries that we're going to harvest! Have a lovely weekend! :)

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  5. obsessed with strawberries and balsamic, fully endorse this cake! can't wait to try!

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  6. I love balsamic on salads or boiled vegetables. I never tried it with jam or strawberries but this cake is quite inspiring. It’s a question of finding the right balance, I guess.

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  7. Looks lovely, BUT - would the WI approve of the Balsamic???

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  8. This looks absolutely splendid!

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  9. Amazing cake! I bet this strawberry jam is delicious!!

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  10. That strawberry jam is genius. I love strawberries macerated with balsamic so this would be perfect for my crumpets!

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  11. looks a delight... i love a classic cake like this but have to do mine with raspberries as i have a strawberry allergy...never tried balsamic with raspberries!!

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  12. My favorite part of this whole post is the using the weight of the eggs to determine the quantity of flour, butter and sugar! I have not heard of that before and it clear produced a gorgeous cake!

    I've had strawberry and balsamic vinegar in a dessert before and never would have imagined how good it is. Beautiful dessert my friend!

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  13. I think your cake measurement method is the best way, I use it too and it never fails. Fab jam too and I like the use of balsamic too.

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  14. Lovely cake and I like how perfect the jam sits in between the slices.

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  15. As an American "Victoria Sponge" is a term I haven't heard before. So this post was like getting to know "cake" all over again. Thanks GREG

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  16. This sounds delicious! I love strawberries and balsamic together :)!

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  17. Coming back to leave another comment to congratulate you on your Foodbuzz Top 9 for this post! It's fantastic and I'm delighted for you it got the recognition it deserves.

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  18. I’ve never heard of a punnet before, but I learned that it means 250 grams. At least I hope it 250 grams =)

    Great job on the cake. It looks wonderful!

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  19. Loving your strawberry balsamic jam. A combination I think works so well especially when combined with a fabulous looking Victoria sponge.
    Thanks so much for entering this into #oneingredient!
    Laura@howtocookgoodfood xx

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  20. Your cake looks beautiful and lovely for Summer! New follower :)

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  21. This post came just on time: I was looking for a recipe to make a sponge cake. Thanks! :)

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  22. I just love strawberries with balsamic and the idea to use them in a Victoria Sponge is genius!!

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  23. Apparently, the traditional proper way to go is with raspberry jam, but I'm not a stickler for tradition and balsamic strawberry jam sounds pretty much amazing.

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  24. that is a beautiful cake and that strawberry jam sounds divine!

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  25. Classic cake with delicious fresh strawberries... Yum. Such a gorgeous cake.

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  26. Just discovered you blog. Love the point of view, and your recipes!! This looks divine.

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  27. That cake looks elegant and completely beautiful

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