Sunday, 6 May 2012

Baking challenge #10: Mary Berry's chocolate victoria sandwich

Mary Berry's chocolate victoria sandwich, as baked by EJ

I love a victoria sandwich, my birthday is in June so I usually make a four layered victoria sponge cake with fresh strawberries and cream - it looks epic and tastes divine, for the last three years I've used freshly picked strawberries from Roundstone farm, the pick your own is open 7 days a week and you can pick up a load of in-season veg as well, but the strawberries really are something else.

Anyway - that's for another post. I made Mary Berry's chocolate victoria sandwich. The sponge was the perfect texture - if you want to make a perfect sponge definitely choose a Mary Berry recipe, I've had more success and consistency with her sponge cakes than any other. There is a lot of methodology around the order that you add ingredients to make the perfect sponge - MB's recipes always seem to involve mixing everything together at once. This is a great technique if you have a food mixer, mixing everything together by hand is another story. I spent ages trying to achieve a smooth consistency with a wooden spoon. Even though the butter was soft to begin with, when you add all ingredients simultaneously the butter seems to clump together and is really difficult to distribute. I'm starting to really lean towards recipes which use oil instead...

Disappointingly, the only actual chocolate chocolate in this recipe is the grated chocolate decorating the top of the cake - the sponge contains cocoa powder, which never really has the right chocolatey richness for me (but is pretty good for an unsweetened hot chocolate). The icing was a bit disappointing too, there was too much sugar and not enough flavour - in fact I think it's fair to say sweetness is used as a flavour substitute in this icing. Be aware if you bake this cake that the measurements given for the icing only produces the tiniest amount - I doubled the quantity to allow for a thin layer to top the cake as well as the filling (there's supposed to be enough to do this anyway).

Good if you have a cakey sweet tooth, not great if you're out for a pure chocolatey fix.

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