Green Tea Victoria Sponge with Summer Berries

Did you know that the Victoria sandwich cake has a wonderfully regal heritage. It was originally made for Queen Victoria during her incredible 66 year reign when the concept of afternoon tea was created. It evolved and became a daily ritual and a very social event, with ladies dressing in their finery to gather for a cup of tea, and an array of tiny sandwiches, biscuits and cakes.

The addition of green tea to this very traditional cake gives it a lovely subtle flavour as well as making it beautifully moist. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven it is pierced all over and is drizzled with delicate green tea syrup. 

This recipe makes 2 x 8 inch (20cm) cakes You will also need 1 piping bag with a small fluted nozzle.

Ingredients: For the Cake:

225g / 8oz soft butter

225g / 8oz golden caster sugar

4 medium free range eggs

225g / 8oz self raising flour

10ml / 2tsp baking powder

5ml / 1tsp pure vanilla extract a few drops of natural green food colouring (optional)

15ml /3 tsp boiling water

For the green tea syrup:

2 PG tips Green Tea teabags

150ml (2/3 cup) boiling water

85g (3oz) granulated sugar

For the filling and decoration:

300ml / 1 1/3cups double cream

100ml / 1/2 cup mascarpone

2,5ml /1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract finely grated zest of 1 orange

30ml / 2Tbsp caster sugar

200g / 8oz  each of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

fresh mint and fresh flowers for decorating

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Line the base of each cake tin with a circle of non-stick baking parchment and butter the sides.

3. Either by hand or using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour and creamy in texture.

4. Lightly beat the eggs and add gradually to the mixture with 2 tablespoons of the flour.

5. Add the vanilla and if using it, carefully add the natural green colour, drop by drop, so as not to make the colour too strong.

6. Sift the remaining flour and the baking powder into the mixture, fold it in carefully. Lastly stir in the boiling water.

7. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 cake tins. Spread it out using a palette knife and create a slight hollow in the centre, so that when it is cooked it has a flat top.

8. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch.

9. When cooked cool on a wire rack. After 5 minutes remove the cakes from the tins.

10. While the cake is cooking make the green tea syrup. Pour the boiling water onto the 2 PG tip Green Tea teabags and leave for several minutes. Remove the teabags and transfer the tea into a small saucepan with the sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and syrup has thickened slightly.

11. Once the cake has been turned out of the tin pierce it all over with a fine skewer or needle. Carefully drizzle (or paint) the warm syrup on all sides of the cake using a pastry brush.

12. Whip the cream and mascarpone with the vanilla and sugar. Wash the orange and finely grate the zest directly onto the cream, fold it in. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small fluted nozzle.

13. When completely cold, fill the centre of the cake with cream and most of the fresh berries, reserving a few for decoration. You can arrange raspberries around the edge of the cake, and pipe a rosette of cream between each one. Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining berries and a few edible fresh flowers. When in season, elderflowers look very pretty! Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

14. This is best eaten on the day it is made, but can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days in a sealed box.

Recipe: courtesy of PG Tips