Caking in London

December 6, 2016

GAIL's triple berry cake

GAIL’s Triple Berry Cake

Since I have done all the touristy stuff before, my mission in London this time is to walk a lot and eat a lot (something I am very good at). Of course, I had to start my every day with a piece of cake and some good English tea (may I please say “tay”). GAIL’s Artisan Bakery was my first stop, where I found one of my favorite cakes in London – the triple berry cake! If you like very sweet cake, this might not be for you, but I found this cake to be the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. Its texture is more like a combination of a scone and a pound cake with a biscotti crust, which just makes it more interesting to eat. After ordering almost the entire menu, my fiancé liked the flourless chocolate cake the most, sister-in-law loved the savory cheese scone, and mother-in-law loved the strawberry polenta cake. So, I obviously had to buy their cookbook :), which is now sitting on my cookbook collection shelf. Let me test/twist some recipes out before sharing them on my blog with you. 

After 10 days of eating and walking, I am pleased to announce that I have fallen in love with the famous Victoria Sponge cake! Although rarely seen in the States, it is a quite common afternoon tea in London. The cake is named after Queen Victoria, who was known to enjoy a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea. Although seemingly easy to make, this cake’s recipe is notoriously sensitive to cooking times and temperature. The cake has two layers with a layer of cream and jam icing in the middle, just like a sandwich. I enjoyed this cake at Wittard of Chelsea (highly recommend), EAT, Fleet River Bakery, Bake-a-boo, Comptoir Gourmand… (You: okay we get it, you eat a lot).

Found the Perfect Size!

Found the Perfect Size!

Besides cakes, there is so much more to London’s bakery and food scene. Since the star of this blog is Victoria Sponge cake, here I’d like to share with you my most favorite recipe from my own kitchen. Send me a message if you have question. Enjoy!

Victoria's Sponge Cake

Victoria’s Sponge Cake

Victoria’s Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

12 tps unsalted butter, room temperature (1 ½ sticks)

1 ¼ cup of all purpose flour

2 teaspoon of baking powder

pinch of salt

¾ cup of sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup double whipping cream

¼ cup sugar for the cream (you can adjust the amount to your liking)

1/3 cup of seedless strawberry/raspberry/whichever-you-like jam

1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 300 F. Grease and line two 8 inch cake pans
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract using a whisk until light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Add the lightly beaten egg one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Lastly use a spatula to carefully fold in the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the pans and even out the surface using a spatula or spoon.
  3. Bake for 17-25 mins until the cake bounces back when touched, or a wooden stick comes out clean after inserting into the center of the cake. Let the pan cool for 5 mins before turn the pans upside down. Release the cakes and allow to cool completely.
  4. Whip the cream to hard peak. I like to spread the strawberry jam first before spreading the cream on top of it (but you can do the opposite). Sandwich the cake with the other half of the cake. Dust the icing sugar on top when you serve!

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