RECIPE: Queen Elizabeth's Victoria sponge cake and garden party scones
The pandemic has cancelled many things in our lives. We can't go see family, we are working from home, and no gatherings can happen, unless it's a funeral (and from Monday, June 1, religious gatherings can also take place, provided that it's only 50 people).
Many events have also been cancelled, including very high profile gatherings, like Queen Elizabeth II's annual garden party, Trooping the Colour and Royal Ascot.
The annual garden parties have become a special event in the queen's calendar. Every summer, Buckingham Palace hosts a series of these parties, which seek to honour citizens of the United Kingdom, who have made a positive impact in their immediate communities. This is their chance of being personally thanked by the Queen and her family, for their active citizenship.
So with so much free time on her hands, I guess she has decided to share some of her favourite things with us mere mortals, just so we can have a taste of what they gorge themselves on at these events.
In the Royal Family Instagram account, they have shared two of the recipes - the Queen Victoria Sponge Cake and the Garden Party Scones.
It is said that Queen Victoria ate a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea, everyday. And is there anything more British than scones?
So to mark the Royal Garden Parties, Buckingham Palace Pastry Chef's have shared the traditional recipes.
Victoria Sponge Cake
For the Sponge:
150g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
150g sieved self-raising flour
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
100g jam (strawberry or raspberry)
For the buttercream
150g softened unsalted butter
220g sieved icing sugar
1/3 vanilla pod or vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins (if you only own one tin, you can bake the sponge and slice in half)
Cream the caster sugar, vanilla essence and softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs
Gradually add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, to avoid the mixture curdling
Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture
Divide the cake mix between the two cake tins and smooth
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the cake appears golden brown
Insert a skewer and ensure it comes out clean
Remove the sponges from their tins and leave to cool
For the buttercream:
Cream the softened butter with the sieved icing sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod (or vanilla essence)
Assembling the cake:
Ensure that both sponges are completely cold before spreading a layer of jam onto the surface of one sponge
Spread a thick layer of buttercream on top of the jam ( if you prefer this can be done first)
Gently place the second sponge on top and gently press down
Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with a pot of fresh English tea!
Garden Party Scones
500g Plain Flour
28g Baking Powder
2 Whole Eggs
140ml Butter Milk
100g Sultanas (Cover in hot water and leave to soak for 30 minutes)
Preheat oven to 180 C
Mix the flour, baking powder, butter and sugar together in a bowl, until a crumb is formed
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk together
Add the liquid to the crumb mixture
Continue to mix the dough, until it is smooth
(Optional) Add the sultanas, and mix until evenly distributed
Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten the dough and cover
Leave to rest for approximately 30 minutes
Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2.5 cm and cut to desired shape
Rest the scones for another 20 minutes
Gently egg wash the top of the scones
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
Cool before serving with jam and clotted cream