The Victoria sponge. Such a thing of Britishness and simplicity that I'm sure it's one of the food groups approved in the UKIP manifesto. However this little beauty is so versatile, that with a few additions here and there, you've got yourself endless cake possibilities.
1) Fill with a flavoured buttercream, instead of cream
Buttercream is a super simple icing made up of icing sugar and butter.
It's a great vehicle for flavour, so add any reduced fruit juice to your recipe (passionfruit is delicious) and you have a flavoursome alternative to cream. Also takes colouring very nicely.
2) Add some crunchy extras to the cake batter before baking
What you're looking for here is something that will add flavour and texture to your cake, but won't alter the consistency of the batter. i.e stick to dry things. Avoid fresh fruits as they will add too much water to the batter (there are some great recipes out there for cakes with fresh fruit in).
A little tip would be to dust your additions in a little flour before adding them to the batter. This stops them from sticking together and also adds a bit of a rough surface to them to stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake. You can also avoid "sinkage" by keeping the size of the pieces quite small
- chocolate chips
- sprinkles (for that unicorn effect)
- freeze dried raspberries
- toasted nuts
3) Dab with a flavoured syrup
This is a delicate cake recipe, so I wouldn't suggest anything too strongly flavoured like an alcohol, but something a bit fruity can add moisture and zingy-ness to your cake. Dab on to the sliced open edges of the layers to let a little syrup soak into the crumb.Try the following flavours:
The syrup should be made with 2 parts caster sugar to 1 part liquid. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Allow to cool and you can store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Great in gin cocktails too!
4) Adorn the sides
If you've used the buttercream to ice the sides of your cake, you can use this as wallpaper paste to pebble-dash your cake. Great additions are:
- Toasted coconut
- Chocolate shavings
- Edible flower petals
5) Pile high with your favourite sweets
Get creative with fruits, nuts, edible flowers, mini meringues. Finish with a dust of icing sugar and you have a masterpiece!