You can’t beat a classic Victoria Sponge – it’s an essential recipe for any baker to master. These miniature versions are really easy to make using a muffin tin. We have two 6-hole silicone muffin moulds which have almost straight sides which produces a better result than the standard metal tins.
I’ve made these cakes for a day at the tennis, picnic style, and also for having guests for buffet lunch and they went down pretty well! You could use the silicone mould to make miniature versions of many different layer cakes but the Victoria Sponge is the original and it’s so delicious.
Makes 12 mini sponges
Time needed: 1 – 2 hours
For the sponge
225g baking margarine or unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the filling
140g soft unsalted butter
450g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 jar raspberry jam (seedless works well)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. If using a metal baking tin then grease and line this well though this is not needed with silicone.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Combine the eggs and vanilla and add gradually to the mixture beating continually. If the mixture starts to curdle add a couple of spoons of the flour. Add the flour and fold until combined.
Fill the muffin tray with the cake batter. It should make 12 cakes but be careful not to overfill the muffin trays. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cakes slightly in the mould then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack.
Make the buttercream by whipping the butter then adding the icing sugar in two batches, beating well after each addition. Combine the vanilla and milk and add this slowly then beat well until light and fluffy.
Once the muffins are fully cooled, cut them all in half and make sure you keep the correct ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’ together to recombine. Fill each cake with a generous layer of buttercream then spread over a dollop of jam. Go right to the edges so you can see the jam when the top is added.
Dust the cakes with icing sugar to serve.
Hints and Tips
The buttercream will make more than you need but you could freeze what’s left for another batch of cakes.
A mechanical ice cream scoop works very well for distributing the batter into the muffin tin.
There are certain family favourite recipes that I have been trying to master since I got married. Not long after I met Tom I heard about his Mum’s sausage rolls which used to just be for Christmas Eve but have become a requested favourite for birthdays, high days and holidays. It was clear that if I was to be a long-term prospect I would need to perfect the sausage rolls.
This is a ‘lazy person’s sausage rolls’ recipe in that it involves bought pastry and basic sausage meat. You could make your own puff pastry (but who has the time?!) and you could use expensive sausage meat or take the meat from gourmet sausages to make it. However, as this is a childhood favourite it has to be made as Mum made it and can’t be too messed about with!
Extensive testing has been done (last Christmas) which proved that the cheaper puff pastry is actually the best one for this recipe – the more expensive all butter one didn’t yield such good results. Happy days for the budget!
Makes 24 small or 16 larger sausage rolls
Time needed: 1 hour (max)
1 pack of ready to roll puff pastry
1 pack of pork sausage meat
1 egg (beaten)
Salt and pepper
Plain flour (for rolling)
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large tray with baking parchment.
Flour a large clean surface and roll out the puff pastry to form a long, thin rectangle which is a bit thinner than a £1 coin.
Divide up the sausage meat and place it on the pastry forming one long sausage along the centre of the pastry. Try to make it an even thickness all the way along. Season the sausage meat with some extra black pepper.
Brush the beaten egg along the pastry on one side of the sausage meat and the fold the pastry over and press down the edges, making sure the pastry hugs the sausage without leaving an air gap. Crimp the edges with a fork.
Cut the sausage into portions. I made 24 sausage rolls but if you prefer bigger ones you could make 16. Transfer the sausage rolls to the baking tray.
Brush the top of all the rolls with egg wash and then add a small sprinkling of sea salt to the top of each one. Place the tray in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill before baking.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and then eat warm or cold.
Sometimes I add a sprinkle of chilli flakes to the sausage meat before sealing it with the pastry which adds a little bit of heat (but not too much). You could also add herbs to taste.
These sausage rolls were baked for my work team meeting tomorrow (but I have put two in Tom’s packed lunch for work as a treat). As a team we are all based in different locations across the south so we only meet 5 or 6 times a year and we always have a bring and share lunch. Sausage rolls were requested after I made them about 6 months ago, so obviously this family favourite works in lots of contexts. Sausage rolls are for life, not just for Christmas!