streetparty# recipes: Victorian Mess

Are you feeling a little unloved at the moment? Are people taking you for granted? Try walking into a room holding one of these. You will get attention, I promise. Admittedly, probably the same type that women with big busts complain of, when entire conversations are aimed at their breasts. But bring it out at your Royal Wedding streetparty and I promise the neighbours will be inviting themselves over for a cup of tea sometime soon.
I’ve christened it Victorian Mess as it is a Victoria sponge with Eton Mess on the top. I know. Decadent and delicious. It’s perfect for a streetparty or a big ‘do’. It’s absolutely not the sort of thing to have hanging around in the fridge because a) the double cream icing won’t last long, b) neither will your waistline.
Victorian Mess
Start to finish: 15 mins prep, 35 in the oven.
Serves: A street? It’s quite big, as I’ve made it with fairly hefty proportions
230g softened butter
230g self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
4 eggs
230g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Topping
300ml double cream
5 strawberries, sliced into 4 or 6 pieces each
50g ready-made meringue
Preheat the oven to 180 degree C (170 if you have a fan oven). Grease and line a 20 cm cake tin, allowing for a 8 cm rise. Alternatively, slightly more time consuming but probably a bit more delicate, prepare two 20cm sandwich cake tins. This way you can put a layer of jam between the two (or even the Eton mess mix, if you’re feeling truly decadent).
Put all the cake ingredients (knobs of butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla) in to a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer, but don’t over-mix. You just want the ingredients to be properly combined. Pour batter into the cake tin(s) and level the top. Put the cake into the oven (top shelf of a normal oven, middle shelf of a fan oven) for 35 minutes (but it may take longer, depending on your oven). It’s done when a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean, or the cake springs back when you touch it.
When it comes out of the oven leave it to cool for a couple of minutes and then loosen it by running a knife between the tin and the cake. Pop it onto a wire rack, take of greaseproof paper and let it cool completely.
While it’s cooling whip up the double cream. Crumble in most of the meringue, leaving aside about 10g for when you serve it. Stir in strawberries. If you are not serving immediately the meringue tends to dissolve into the cream which gives it a deliciously sweet flavour, but you don’t get the crunch. For that I save the last 10g to crumble over the top just before serving. Ta da!

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