Sunday, 5 August 2012

Rule Britannia!

What a day...the phone rang late on Saturday morning and it was our friends who can call on us on their way home from holiday in Devon to Northants, five of them, puppy and largish caravan! We warned them to park at the top of our street!

I started to bake, the easiest and tastiest ever shortbread and a strawberries and meringue cream Victoria Sponge. It was a miracle I didn’t mess up either as I was dashing back and forth to the living room watching all the amazing Team GB medals come through.  Apparently “to medal” is now an allowed verb according to a programme earlier on good old Radio 4 yesterday.  The Oxford English Dictionary (I think) guy was very careful not to pass opinion but stated dictionary addition/alteration is purely on documented usage by the general population and not academic opinion.  In Great Britain we medal, and we medal Big Time!
Strawberry Cream Meringue Victoria Sponge
Finally our friends arrived after a stressful few hours on the M5 and we all had tea before a lap of the common with their bouncy puppy Jasper who forced Rolo (our 12 year old lab) into a trot, he is happier sniffing in his old age.

I have been making 6 egg Victoria Sponges for a fair few years, my friend Andrea gave me the idea of doubling the size of my normal recipe, and I bought two good quality spring action loose bottomed 9”/ 22cm diameter deep cake tins years ago. I always use St Delia’s (Delia Smith) all in one method and sunflower margarine and extra large eggs at room temperature. Never ever peep in the oven until the last couple of minutes and only then if you are worried it is overcooking, you can tell that when the aroma is very definite! I only trust imperial measurements for this one. Dave asked for the recipe so he could make a cake so here you are Dave!

Classic Party Size Victoria Sponge

Pre heat fan oven whilst making the cake, fan oven 160 degrees, shelves at 1/3 and 2/3rds position


12oz (375g) Self Raising Flour
2 tsps baking powder
12oz (375g) Caster sugar
12oz (375g) Sunflower Margarine  AT ROOM TEMPERATURE (make sure it’s not low fat)
6 extra large eggs (or 7 medium) at room temperature
2tsps vanilla essence (optional)
300ml Whipping cream
200g strawberries
1oz(25g) icing sugar
1-2 meringue nests
2 tblspns Bonne Maman Strawberry Jam (or home made!)
Grease the tins and line the bases


  • Sift flour, baking powder and sugar into large bowl.
  • Add margarine and crack in the eggs and add vanilla essence if using. No need to pre whisk the eggs.
  • Using an electric whisk mix on low speed until the ingredients are just combined, then increase to high speed and mix for one minute only.
  • Divide equally between tins (which translates to 8 very heaped tablespoons dotted around each tin I ) Do not tap spoon to release.
  • Minimal handling and speed into the oven is the secret now.
  • Gently smooth tops leaving a slight hollow in the centre area and raised a bit round the edge.
  • Place a tin on each shelf in the oven and gently shut the door.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. The cake will be light brown and the edges just curling back from the edges, and the centre springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
  • Leave to cool in tins on cooling racks for 5 minutes and then carefully turn out and finish cooling.
  • Keep the best 7 strawberries back and halve 6 and keep one whole and chop the rest.
  • When cool whip the cream, sift the icing sugar on top and fold in.
  • Put half the cream into another bowl. Fold in the chopped strawberries to one half.
  • Sandwich the cooled cakes with the jam and strawberry cream.
  • Spread remaining cream on to the top and arrange halved/hulled  strawberries and one whole one in the centre.

Serve with a nice cup of tea and cake forks.

It was so lovely to see our friends, but unfortunately they had to get home before dark with the caravan.

After everyone had left we settled down for some more Olympics. We are hooked…and I hook whilst watching too. On this Super Saturday we won so many medals that I lost count on my Bullseye Square so many times it took me 3 ½ hours to complete a 20 minute square, lost count of the medals too! Spectacular successes in rowing, cycling and especially Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon, Mo Farrah in 10K and brilliant Greg Rutherford in Long Jump. 6 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze, in one day, for lil old Great Britain!
Bullseye or Medal Squares!
They look a little like medals!

We can’t cope with any more…Sensational Sunday has seen bronze and silver in men’s gymnastics, the fantastic Ben Ainslie  tactically sailed to Gold in the Finns and Percy and Simpson still won a silver, they didn’t fail at securing a gold.

Oh…and Andy Murray has just smashed Federer into smithereens in 3 sets in the Men’s tennis singles. Gold number 16, 17 or 18?!

So how do us Brits celebrate? Well with tea and cake of course, I'd better get the roast on so we can watch Team GB this evening.

The best result; Ben in the sailing of course, that used to be my sport, the coverage was fantastic as the intricacies of sailing tactics, making a boat go fast, starting and reading the wind and waves and working out who is in the lead is impossible from the shore. Best Olympic Sailor of all time. We are learning to win in this country and not just be polite and take part!


  1. Gorgeous cake! You are nice to bake something up so fast for drop in company. Congrats on your UK wins! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. I like to have the excuse to bake! Thank you Teresa!

  2. I agree about 'meddling', it just sounds wrong to me! But I'm really enjoying the Olympics and having them here has turned out to be awesome! Winning is also a very welcome change too :)

    Sandra x

    1. We're still medaling..not quite the same rate but it's a good excuse to crochet more Fiona

  3. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm totally hooked on the Olympics too, but I've been able to join my blanket together while watching. I love all your crochet, especially the flower blanket! xx

    1. You are a proper multi tasking lady, hats off to you! Thanks :) Fiona


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