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Strawberry & cream sandwich sponge



“This classic cake is, of course, named after Queen Victoria, the only monarch to reign longer than the current Queen. It’s relatively easy to make but does have a few quirks: you need to get as much air into it as possible, and be mindful of its sensitivity to variations in heat. Know your oven well and invest in an oven thermometer! ”

Ingredients:

225 g unsalted butter (at room temperature) , plus extra for greasing
225 g white caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large free-range eggs
225 g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 splash of milk
FILLING
200 ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
1½ tablespoon of icing sugar , plus extra for dusting
250 g fresh strawberries

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Grease and line the bases of 2 round 20cm sandwich tins.

Cube up the butter, then cream together with the sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Beat the eggs, then gradually mix into the creamed butter and sugar. Sift, then fold in the flour, baking powder and ¼ of a teaspoon of sea salt with a large metal spoon until just incorporated (don’t overmix).

Stir in 1 splash of milk to loosen the batter, then evenly divide it between the 2 cake tins.

Bake the cakes in the oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. To test, insert a skewer into the middle of a cake; it’s ready when the skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once completely cool, pour the cream into a large bowl, scrape in the vanilla seeds and whisk until you have soft peaks.

Sift in icing sugar and gently fold through. Place one of the cakes on your chosen plate or cake stand and spread over the vanilla cream, but not right to the edges or it will spill later.

Hull and roughly slice the strawberries, then scatter on top of the second cake. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with extra strawberries, if you like.

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