Baking challenge: perfect Victoria sandwich a la Mary Berry

So for part two of my Great British Bake Off challenge, I was still on cake week, but this time tackling the technical challenge. The technical challenge for series one, episode one was Mary Berry’s perfect Victoria sandwich, so I used her recipe as found on the BBC’s website, following it to the letter as per the requirements of the technical challenge. Of course, I had it easier than the bakers themselves, as they are just given a list of ingredients, vague methods and temperatures, having to use their baking knowledge and experience to wing the rest. The Mary Berry recipe used an all-in-one method, where al the ingredients are mixed together, which Mary is quite fond of. I, however, am not, generally, a fan of this way of making cakes: I find that it can sometimes make the cake overwhelmingly eggy. As far as I remember, as well, the bakers used the more conventional creaming method, which is also what I do when following my usual recipe, Nigella Lawson’s from How to be a Domestic Goddess.

Despite my misgivings about the method, this cake turned out to be delicious, buttery and fluffy (I used butter instead of margarine or baking spread as Marry suggests: I’m afraid I just don’t believe in them). I did sort of violate the nature of the technical challenge by not using the suggested filling of raspberry jam and (optional) double cream, when of course the point of the technical challenge is to adhere as closely to the recipe as possible. I made my peace with my errant behaviour by rationalising that I had followed the sponge recipe to the letter (sort of – see below). Inspired by the Hairy Bikers and hankering for some autumnal flavour, I made a cinnamon buttercream (a proper one, given my feelings on normal buttercream!) from a recipe by the soothing and sensible Jane Grigson, and used blackcurrant jam, a quite delicious one from Lidl.

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