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Victoria Sponge

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then cake must be a close second!

With the diamond jubilee celebrations in full flow and patriotism revving up for an ultimate high this month it would be rude not to conquer this with a recipe to match. Quintessential English tea parties are the obvious manner in which 60 years of her Majesty’s reign will be celebrated and at the centre of every cornucopia of teatime treats there must be the staple Victoria Sponge – it does not get more English than this, a little rustic magic!

So here with a failsafe recipe and method which Jack’s Coffee Shop in Cirencester is famous for, it will provide the wow factor as centre piece to any table of goodies on the day. Voluptuous in size not only does it seduce the onlooker’s eye at a mere mouth watering glance. Its oozing centre steps away from the more expensive fresh strawberries and cream filling to a naughty but very nice buttercream and jam. This means the longevity of the cake is much prolonged - stored away in a tin or wrapped in cling film it will last providing packed lunch treats and pudding for 3 or 4 days after the big celebration. Credit crunch munch- yum. Long live the Queen, long live the cake!

The method achieves the result of best ingredients and careful failsafe baking technique – nothing more and nothing less. Surely in terms of culinary preparation this is what British pride is all about?! English tradition is undoubtedly thoughtful cake making, the skillful mixing of fine ingredients combined by one’s fair hands, this is made simpler, cheaper and more enjoyable by the ‘Rainy-Brown’ method below.

The cheat’s version of shop bought mass produced cakes tend to be basic and dressed up to make them appear more special than they really are. By hurling all the ingredients into a mixer, à la Jamie Oliver, this method can have a delicious cake in the time it would take to park up and get to the cake aisle in a shop. If pushed for time there is no need to decorate. Icing is not needed in order to distract from poor texture and flavour. Simple, pleasurable and rewarding to bake, this goody is just what the Queen would expect of her Kingdom’s residents!

RECIPE: For the domestic goddesses get your Kitchen-Aid out! For the rest of us mere mortals an electric hand whisk and big bowl will do!

For the sponge: 4oz/110g Butter
For the buttercream: 8oz/220g Icing Sugar
6oz/175g Caster sugar
4oz/110g Butter
6oz/175g Self Raising Flour
Splash of Milk
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 tbsp Milk
2 x large eggs

Preheat oven 150 degrees c/ Gas Mark 3. Measure out and into a large bowl, mix, whisk and do the twist! Pour into tins, either cupcake or sandwich (10”). Into oven and bake, approx 15 min for cupcakes, 40 mins for the sandwich. Cool, Fill and top! Await the praise and applaud on tasting. N.B. REMEMBER: Toast to the Queen, toast to the cake!!

Clementine Rainy-Brown from Anne Rainy-Brown’s ‘The Really Good Food Company’ and Jack’s Coffee Shop, Cirencester 07939214420, 01285640888