Thursday, June 15, 2006

Good Drink, Good Meat, Good God, Let's Eat

Steph, Jane & Ian came over for burgers and beer this evening, my first chance this summer to use my refueled grill. Thanks to Jane there were veggie burgers for Steph, and rest of us enjoyed the ground chuck from the meat tent at the Del Ray Farmer's Market. Since I made corn on the cob, Steph gave me a "housewarming" gift of corn holders - perfect timing, and very thoughtful. It was really nice - I pulled one of my old Academy trunks onto the porch for a table and we ate outside. Perfect weather for it, too: good temperature, not too sunny, a pleasant breeze. Good times.

After dinner, Aaron was able to join us and I brought out the cake I made yesterday. It's a recipe I got from Sarah, who in turn got it from a cookbook called How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I chose not to share that particular fact at dinner, though.

It turned out really well, using the last of last year's strawberry jam for the filling. And it was all from scratch - the cake, the whipped cream, the jam. I'm feeling awfully pleased with myself. I think everyone liked it, and enjoyed coming over. I gave them jars of this year's jam, and that was the conclusion of a really nice, laid-back evening. I don't like a lot of things about summer, what with the heat and sunshine and tourists. But nights like tonight are golden.


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From How To Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson via Sarah Juckett:

Victoria Sponge (Sugar Cookie) Cake

For the Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self rising cake flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder (only if using processor method)
3 – 4 tablespoons milk
2 8x2 inch cake pans, buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper

For the Filling

2-4 tablespoons raspberry or other jam, depending on berries.
½ pint raspberries or berries of choice
½ cup heavy cream or whipping cream

For the Topping

1 – 2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 Methods to make:

Food Processor method:

Put all ingredients except the milk and process until you’ve got a smooth batter. Then pulse, pouring the milk gradually through the funnel until the cake mixture’s a soft, dropping consistency. If the mix is too runny, no problem, and if your ingredients are too cold, you may end up with a batter that looks curdled, but it doesn’t really matter, it just may not rise as much.

Traditional method:

Cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour between each. Fold in the rest of the flour and cornstarch, adding NO baking powder, and when all’s incorporated, add a little milk as you need.

Pour and scrape the batter into the pans and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are beginning to come away at the edges, are springy to the touch on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely.

When you are ready to eat the cake, put one layer on a plate, right way up, spread with jam and scatter the fruit on top. Whip the cream till it’s thickened but still soft and spread over the jammy fruit. Sit the other cake on top, and sprinkle over a tablespoon or so of sugar.

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Kelly said...

My goodness, that looks fantastic!! Hey, can I send my intern over, you can teach her how to make it - then she can make me one! That sounds PERFECT to me. :)

Dan said...

I don't know - interns are tricky. Sometimes you get a good one... and sometimes, they're more trouble then they'll ever be worth. I'm not sharing my cake with some pain in the ass punk intern.

Kelly said...

Hey! You haven't met her - you might enjoy her no personality. I should be nice - sorry.