Please note - this post is filled with quotation marks (otherwise known as rabbit ears). Please skip reading this post if rabbit ears offends you.
My Dear Husband requested for a Victoria Sponge Cake for his birthday this year. Sounds like a simple request, huh? Problem is, before I met my dear husband, I had never consciously tried a "sponge cake", much less a "Victoria Sponge Cake". I'm sure I've eaten many a sponge cake, probably disguised as birthday cake or something like that. But it has never been presented to me as "Sponge Cake" like you would say "Devil's Food Cake" or "Sour Cream Pound Cake".
And so I went looking for a Sponge Cake recipe. As with all classic, traditional, well-known and well-loved sweet treats, you can find numerous robust-almost-obsessive discussions on what makes a perfect Sponge Cake, particularly the Victorian Sponge Cake. The description I like best "A Victoria Sponge is always un-iced, served with just a dusting of icing sugar, neat but never prim". Neat but never prim - I love it!!!
Apparently, "producing an evenly risen, high Victoria sponge sandwich cake, moist and tender with a buttery flavour and airy lightness, is the ultimate proof of the traditional British cook." Now, I am neither traditional nor British, but I do love a challenge.
And so, I turn to the British Domestic Goddess - Nigella Lawson - for her Victorian Sponge Cake recipe. And here is the end product...
Not bad, I thought. Slightly domed, looked airy, looked buttery, looked moist. I was pretty pleased with my effort, actually. Neat, high, not prim.
But, the testing is in the tasting. So after a tweak in the decorating department by Little Miss M
And after much fanfare...
I ask my "Dear" Husband (notice the quotation marks - yeah...), what does he think of my ta-da "Sponge Cake"? And the response (as he is smacking his lips together, mind you), "It's certainly buttery". HUH?!?
"Well, they say that it's difficult to make a really good sponge cake."
HUH?!? As my chest deflates and my indignation inflates.
"But this is really yum. The strawberries are really good and I like the cream."
Strawberries that I bought from the shop. Cream that I just lightly whipped. What about the cake????
"I just remember it being lighter, that's all."
Aahhh... memories. When he was a child, my Dear Husband and his family would have a yearly holiday by the beach where they would frolick in the sand (as boys do frolick) and eat Passionfruit Sponge Cake from this one bakery in the area. So, not only am I trying to measure up to a British National tradition, but I am also competing with childhood memories.
And so, the competition is on! I'm on the quest for the "perfect" Sponge cake - as defined by my Dear Husband. Stay tuned.
In the meanwhile, Happy Birthday My Love!!!