Sponge cake and berries fit for royal tea

By Candice Hutchings
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Victoria sponge cake is an old English classic. It’s named after Queen Victoria, who apparently had tea with delectable cakes every day at four o’clock with a duchess and baroness. I do the same thing, but I swap out the tea for wine and eat cake with my dogs. So go ahead and throw an afternoon tea party with some pals, human or canine.

SERVES
6
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

  • Fine mesh sieve
  • Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
  • 2 23 centimeter springform pans, greased and dusted with unbleached all-purpose flour

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking soda 6 mL
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

For the chantilly cream:

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1/2 cup organic confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon cognac

For the filling and topping:

  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  • 4 cups strawberries, halved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Cake: In a stand mixer bowl or large bowl, using a fine-mesh sieve, sift flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and sugar. Whisk and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, vegetable oil, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
  4. Add almond milk mixture to flour mixture. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat for about two minutes, until thick and creamy.
  5. Divide batter between prepared springform pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, watching carefully, until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely, about one hour.
  7. Chantilly Cream: Meanwhile, chill the clean stand mixer bowl and the whip attachment, or a large metal bowl and electric beaters, in the fridge for one hour.
  8. Remove the cold bowl and beaters from the fridge. Carefully open coconut milk and place the coconut cream solids in the cold bowl. (Reserve or discard the remaining liquid. You do not want any of this liquid in your whipped cream.)
  9. Using the stand mixer or electric hand mixer with chilled beaters, beat coconut cream on Low, gradually turning up the speed to High, for about 30 seconds to one minute. Beat on High for three to five minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, tapioca starch and cognac; beat for one minute, until stiff peaks form again (they can fall when new ingredients are added). Taste and adjust sugar and cognac to desired sweetness. Cover and transfer to the fridge until needed.
  10. Place one cake on a serving dish or cake stand. Spread jam evenly over the surface, followed by half of the whipped cream, leaving a one centimeter border. Place second cake on top. Spread or pipe remaining cream over surface and decorate with strawberries. Transfer to the fridge for a minimum of one hour and maximum overnight to set.
  11. Slice with a sharp knife and a light hand. Serve with afternoon tea or prosecco.

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