Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The Stylist Cake Off Competition Week Seven: Victoria Sponge

lucy_foster.png

For this week’s challenge, our bakers took on that most classic of cakes, the Victoria sponge. Staple of every WI bake sale and National Trust tearoom, the Vicky sponge is as quintessentially British as the rain that is usually lashing the sides of the <Bake-Off> marquee. Sponge, cream and jam – easy, right?

As we’re in week seven, it’s safe to say that the wheat has been separated from the chaff at this stage. The tension was palpable as the team gathered around the judging table to hear the results, as photography and specials director Tom Gormer blurted out a sheepish, “We’re so nervous!”

This week we welcomed Claire Ptak from The Violet Bakery as the judge, and she kicked off the proceedings with a heartening, ‘Bravo!’ Having cushioned the blow, it was time to name who would be leaving the competition this week. Unfortunately for picture researcher Nicole Holcroft-Emmess, her Jaffa Cake Sponge didn’t quite fit the brief. Claire declared the bake moist and very tasty, and applauded the truly magnificent decoration – pieces of Jaffa Cake and Kit-Kat, along with segments of Chocolate Orange, all sprinkled liberally with edible glitter – but she felt that it couldn’t be called a Victoria sponge. 

Cake

Despite a graceful exit, Nicole had set the bar high, and the standard was maintained with a beautifully piped raspberry and lemon cake from features director Lucy Foster, and a chocolate Rich Tea sponge with raspberry cream and honey drizzle from senior sub Lucy Frith (replacing Jenny this week) was also a hit with Claire. Meanwhile, art director Natasha Tomalin scored major points for tapping into the naked cake trend with her “inside out” Victoria Sponge, which was iced sparsely using whipped cream, and topped with real flower embellishment. 

cake

The tension having reached fever pitch, second place was announced, and this was to become the week that deputy production editor Amy Adams was dethroned in spectacular style by Tom. Claire was delighted by the Middle Eastern flavours of rose and pistachio running through Amy’s bake, bringing an oriental twist to a British classic, and she received extra credit for having sugared her decorative rose petals. Unfortunately for Amy, however, the pistachio brittle had burnt slightly, leaving a bitter taste that kept her from bagging the top spot once again. 

cake

And so Tom was crowned winner, with what was declared ‘definitely a Victoria Sponge’ (no deviating from the brief there then). His bake also featured beautifully candied flowers, and was dusted with a snowdrift of pink sugar – a festive twist that had Claire overcoming her usual aversion to coloured sugar. The sponge was perfectly flavoured, without the usual tell-tale saltiness that betrays bicarbonate of soda, and his use of strawberry jam kept things classic. 

cake
winner

So as our bakers pack away their KitchenAids and mixing bowls, here’s next week’s challenge: eclairs. Topped with chocolate and filled with cream. Choux-ely these can’t go wrong?

Remember to keep posting your weekly bakes to the Stylist Cake Off Instagram account tagging @stylistcakeoff and using the hashtag #stylistcakeoff

Tips for making a majestic Victoria Sponge from Claire Ptak at The Violet Bakery

What kind of Victoria Sponge would you have made? I’m a big fan of the naked cake trend, so I probably would have done one of those. And I would keep it classic – (this week’s winner) Tom used jam, which really makes it a Victoria Sponge.

So is flavouring the cream a no go? Definitely flavour the cream! Even though it’s a classic cake, it’s always fun to experiment and tweak it a bit.

Why makes the Victoria Sponge so enduring? Everyone is a fan of the classics – we crave that familiarity, it’s comforting.

Raspberry or strawberry? I personally prefer raspberry. The acidity is a nice balance with the sweetness of the sponge and the richness of the cream.

How can we avoid overbaking? My mantra with Victoria Sponges is ‘low and slow’. You want to keep the oven at about 150-160 degrees Celsius so it doesn’t dome too quickly.  

You can purchase The Violet Bakery Cookbook here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Violet-Bakery-Cookbook-Claire-Ptak/dp/0224098500 and check out Claire's lovely blog here http://www.violetcakes.com/blog/ to keep up with news from The Violet Bakery

Related

IMG_6271.JPG

Baking with pastry: Tips from the BIY baker, Richard Burr

lucy_foster.png

The Stylist Cake Off Competition Week 7

IMG_6206.JPG

The Stylist Cake Off Competition Week Six: Frangipane Tarts

IMG_6157.JPG

The Stylist Cake Off Competition Week

IMG_5494.JPG

How to make a perfect baked cheesecake: Hummingbird Bakery founder, Ta

IMG_5495.JPG

The Stylist Cake Off competition Week Three: Baked cheesecake

IMG_6122.JPG

Tips for sugar-free baking from Sophie Michell

Comments

Latest...

Espresso tonic is the new drinks trend taking over our Instagram feeds

Meet your new obsession

28 Mar 2017

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

10 cocktail recipes inspired by iconic women authors

Intoxicating recipes and feminist literary history: a winning combination.

by Moya Crockett
22 Mar 2017

This London restaurant has launched an ice cream breakfast menu

Our childhood dreams have come true.

by Hayley Spencer
21 Mar 2017

Forget chocolate: this Easter, it's all about the cheese egg

Why has no one thought of this before?

by Hayley Spencer
21 Mar 2017

These salad cakes are the most beautiful way to eat your greens

And pinks, and purples...

by Moya Crockett
16 Mar 2017

An insider's guide to the London bars you might not know about

Bartenders reveal your new favourite drinking dens

by Amy Swales
15 Mar 2017

Gin fans, get ready: the UK's first ever gin cruise is coming

All aboard

by Sarah Biddlecombe
15 Mar 2017