Travelling the World Without Leaving the Kitchen

Archive for May, 2012

Victoria Sponge Cake – A Recipe from England

As I continue travelling the world through dessert recipes, this week I found myself in England enjoying tea with a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake (a favorite of Queen Victoria). For more information on the history of this dessert, you can click here.

After searching for popular English recipes this is the one I came across most often so I figured that I should give it a try. There were many different recipes to make this and in the end I decided on a recipe from Eat Live Run, which you can find here.

As I read through the recipe it all seemed quite simple until I read that I needed a knob of butter. What is a knob of butter? one might ask. I simply did not know, so I looked it up and found out that it’s just a tablespoon or two.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After getting all the ingredients out I started measuring and mixing. Once it was in the oven I was putting all the ingredients away and I noticed something. I forgot to add an ingredient! The vanilla extract was sitting on the counter unopened and I couldn’t remember adding it to the mix.

The cakes were already in the oven so I couldn’t change anything now; I just had to hope that it would turn out alright. I looked at the recipe again, however, and after going over the directions I realized that it never said when to add the vanilla. It was in the ingredients list, but not in the actual directions, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.

While the cakes were cooking I cut up fresh strawberries. I know the recipe said to use jam in the middle but I wanted to add some fresh fruit too. After the cakes had completely cooled, I started with a thin layer of jam on the top of the first cake and then added the fresh strawberries on top of that before adding the whipped cream and the other cake to make it look like a stuffed cookie.

When I added the top cake everything started coming out the sides! I wasn’t sure what to do about this so I finished quickly, covered it and put it in the fridge hoping that if it got cold everything would stop sliding out.

When I looked at it later most of it had still fallen out, but the taste was still amazing!

Boterkoek! A Dutch Recipe

After finally deciding that I would write a blog on different things that I bake, I had to decide what to bake. I wanted to try different recipes from around the world. I started by looking at different desserts from Holland (being that my mom’s side of the family is from there, I figured I would try something out). My mom and my grandma used to make boterkoek (which literally translates to butter cake) when I was smaller and I liked it then so I figured I should try making it myself.

I started by finding a recipe online. I like to use the website allrecipes.com because there are certain features that I like about it. The first one being that you can change the serving size and the amount of ingredients all change. The second thing I like about this website is that it has the nutritional information after the recipe. So, here is the recipe that I decided to use: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dutch-boterkoek/ .

The recipe is pretty straight forward and I already had all the ingredients in my house so I figured I would give it a try.  It started out pretty good until I had to mix the butter, so if you decide to make this recipe yourself I would make sure the butter is room temperature before mixing it. After I finally got the butter mixed the rest went pretty smoothly.

After dinner I cut the cake, but I thought it looked very plain and boring so I added some whipped cream and raspberries to the plate. The cake was a great success and everyone seemed to enjoy it. My mom told me that she had never tasted one so lemony before and we figured out that my grandma used to make it with slivered almonds and almond extract instead of lemon zest and vanilla extract. So either way you make it, it will still taste delicious.

The only complaint came from myself and it was that it was baked for too long. The recipe said to leave it in the oven for about 35 minutes. I took it out after 32 minutes, but I still thought that the edges were too cooked. If I bake this recipe again, I would probably only leave it in the oven for 30 minutes. Overall, it turned out to be a success and everyone in my family cannot wait to see what I decide to bake next week!