I am very aware these this recipe is very similar to something that I posted relatively recently but
a) the combination of cake, jam and cream is very hard to beat; and
b) these were a request job.
One of my colleagues is leaving today. Because of the nature of the work that I do, this is a relatively frequent occurrence. There is a core group of us who feel like we've been around forever but other people come and go as the requirements of our projects change. Having been here for a little over five years, I'm now considered somewhat of an old hand. This was brought home to me at our conference last week (which I would not have survived without my stash of chocolate chip muffins) as I looked round the room and realised that I knew most of the people there and, perhaps more worryingly, most of them knew me.
Without the markers of passing time that characterise childhood, it's easy for the time to just fly past. Sometimes there are weeks when I barely come up for air; before I know it, it's Friday evening and the last thing that I remember is getting up for work on Monday morning. All of a sudden, another year has passed without my feet touching the ground. I find it incomprehensible that my boyfriend and I have been together for two years when I could swear that we only had our first date last week.
I spent a considerable amount of time having a fairly one-sided conversation with my boyfriend about how best to transform the cupcake into a victoria sponge. Eventually I decided to cut out a small circle from the top, fill the hole with a teaspoon of jam and a teaspoon of whipped cream, replace the circle and dust the whole thing with icing sugar. As an added bonus, the design stood up very well to the rigours of a rush hour commute on the tube - always an important consideration when baking for work.
My departing colleague has just sent me an email saying that he's eaten 6 in the hour which probably says more about these cupcakes than I ever could....
Victoria sponge cupcakes (makes 12)
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
110g self-raising flour
12 tsp jam
150ml double cream, whisked to form stiff peaks
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and gradually add them along with the vanilla extract to the butter and sugar, whisking all the time.
3. Sift the flour and fold it into the mixture with a metal spoon. Try not to overwork the mixture otherwise your cakes will be heavy.
4. Fill your cupcake lines about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
5. When cool, slice a little circle out the top of your cakes. Fill the middle with a teaspoon of jam and a teaspoon of whipped double cream. Replace the lid and dust with icing sugar.
Edit - I've had a couple of questions about double cream. If you can't get it, any heavy cream that whips up will do fine or you can do what my grandmother used to do when making a victoria sponge cake which was to use a basic buttercream instead of cream. It will be much sweeter but will work just as well.