Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A special Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day

I’ve been experimenting with Grandma Abson’s Victoria Sandwich recipe to create a special treat for Mother’s Day. My friend Charlotte asked me to come up with a homemade ‘All in One Afternoon Tea’ sponge cake for her mum as a surprise for Mother’s Day. Since Charlotte’s mum likes all sorts of cakes, I came up with the idea of a 3 tiered sponge cake with each tier baked in a different flavour and finished with different butter cream fillings. You could say a cornucopia of tastes in a slice!
As a basis for the mixture I used Grandma Abson's Victoria Sandwich recipe with 8 inch/21 cms cake tins for each tier or layer.

Basic Sponge Cake for 2 tiers
3 large eggs and their weight (= approx 6-7oz /175g-200g) in each of
6 oz /175g butter 
6oz/175g caster sugar (*see below for Toffee or Butterscotch use soft brown sugar)
60z/175g self raising flour (sieved)

For 3 tiers use 5 eggs and weight of these in butter, sugar and flour
For 4 tiers use 6 eggs and weight of these in butter, sugar or flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Mark 4. Line the cake tins with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add to the creamed mixture. Fold in the flour. Now divide the mixture into 2, 3 or 4 depending on the amount of mixture and number of tiers you have chosen.

Create different mixtures as you wish all at one if you have a large enough bowl and several cake tins. I prefer to do this in batches
For a Victoria Sandwich tier add a little milk
For a Lemon Cake tier add the zest and juice of ½ lemon
For an Orange Cake tier add the zest and juice of ½ orange
For a Chocolate Cake tier add 1 tbsp cocoa powder, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp black treacle and a little milk to mix.
For a Coffee Cake tier add ½ dsp coffee essence or powder (Meryl’s Tip : You must grind coffee granules to a powder first!)

*For a Toffee or Butterscotch Cake tier – use soft brown sugar instead of caster sugar.
Put the mixture into the cake tins. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean or the top is firm to the touch. Place on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack and leave until cool.

Butter cream fillings 
(This will be enough for 3 tiers of cakes)
4 oz/110g butter
8 oz/225 icing sugar
A few drops vanilla extract
1-2 tbsps tepid water or milk

Cream the butter and icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and water or milk.

Now choose your fillings :
For a Victoria Sandwich use raspberry jam and butter cream.
For a Lemon Cake add the zest and juice of ½ lemon or 2 tbsps of lemon curd to the butter cream
For an Orange Cake add the zest and juice of ½ orange to the butter cream
For a Chocolate Cake tier melt 1 oz/25g of plain chocolate into the butter cream.
For a Coffee Cake add ½ dsp coffee essence
*For a Toffee or Butterscotch Cake use soft brown sugar instead of icing sugar.

Spread the butter cream (and raspberry jam for the Victoria Sandwich) on the top of one cake and place the other on top.  Carry on with the different tiers and fillings as you have chosen. If you wish you can cover the sides and top of the cake with butter cream.
 Add a Mother’s Day decoration and your home made Afternoon Tea gift is ready to serve for your special Mum!  Don't forget a card too!
Or try a traditional Simnel Cake for Mothering Sunday as Grandma used to bake. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there!

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