So my lovely, naughty, silly Dad is 79 this weekend. We tried to pin him down to a date to come for dinner, but he’s such a social butterfly that he didn’t have a day free. We compromised by persuading him to pop round after going out for dinner somewhere else to have the cheese and dessert courses with us! As it was such a lovely day, we set up the table outside and covered it with all sorts of lovely cheeses, and got some of his favourite rosé chilling in the fridge. I also set out to make him a lovely birthday cake, which was a bit of a warm ol’ business seeing as the temperature was in the 30s! I decided that a lovely jammy creamy Victoria sponge would be the perfect, summery dessert.
If you can get hold of duck eggs, they’re well worth using if you’re making a special cake (or even an everyday cake, frankly). Their lovely rich yellow yolks make gorgeous, moist fluffy sponges which rise really well. They’re slightly larger than hens’ eggs but weirdly have about the same amount of liquid in them, so you can swap them like for like in your favourite recipe. I tend to weigh the eggs and use the same amount of the other ingredients, which makes it even easier.
Here’s how I made the cake:
You will need:
4 duck or hens eggs, weighed (mine were about 260g)
260g salted butter (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla extract
260g caster sugar
260g self raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4.
Weigh the eggs, then weigh out the same amount of butter, sugar and flour. It’s best if your eggs and butter are room temperature, but obviously on hot day like today you don’t want to be leaving the butter out for too long!
Cream the butter until it’s soft, then whip in the sugar until the whole lot is light and fluffy and looks pale in colour. Don’t forget to pop in the vanilla extract.
Then, mix in the eggs. I crack them all into a bowl to make sure there’s no shell in there, then lightly mix them with a fork – this way you can dribble them in a bit at a time. If your mixture starts to separate, don’t worry, just mix in a tablespoon of the flour.
Once all the eggs are in, gently stir in the flour. Butter two medium round cake tins and put half the mixture in each one, roughly levelling it off.
They’ll take around 20 minutes to bake – check them by giving them a little press with your finger – they should bounce back when they’re cooked.
Cool the cakes on a wire rack, then the fun begins…
I sandwiched the cakes together with some of the berry jam I made with the strawberries and raspberries pinched from Dad’s garden, which seemed rather fitting. I also added a nice thick layer of whipped cream and finished the whole lot off with a few raspberries and a sprinkle of icing sugar. I think he was quite pleased:
After stuffing our faces, he didn’t let us crack open the Mateus Rosé we bought him (it’s a bit of an in joke, and turns up at every family celebration), but we had some champers and then some port, and sat out until we had to light candles, as the bats whizzed about above our heads. The end to a perfect day. Happy birthday Dad, you’re my favourite dad ever. xx