Do you have a regular baking repertoire or do you seek new challenges each time you bake? I cannot resist new cookery books and regularly add to my groaning shelves. I cannot help but notice that many books are simply variations on those I already own but still I am lured by pretty covers and evocative words. My most used books remain pretty much the same, Nigella Lawson's How to Eat is well thumbed and often consulted, no pictures in this one but a very readable book. Equally readable and beautifully photographed is Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. I have several Nigel Slater books and love his style of cooking and writing. His books have all been well cooked from. A relative newcomer to my favourites is Tessa Kiros, Falling Cloudberries, good recipes, beautiful words and pictures. Of course there is Delia who cannot be beaten for fact and method. Then there are all the others......many, many others, some have never been cooked from (head hangs in shame). Some are browsed on occasion and some earn their place for the sake of just two or three recipes.
The cake above came from one such book, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall's Family Cookbook. It is a good book and I am a fan of Hugh but really there is nothing terribly new for me, most of the recipes and information I already have in other books. However, the marshmallow recipe was what gave this book a place on the shelf, excellent marshmallows made with egg white and gelatine, a joy to make and eat.
Back to the cake, Victoria Sponge is a cake which I have made many times but remains a favourite, simple, no adulterations but always with jam and cream. This is the birthday cake of choice for The Technical Advisor and he has even been known to bake his very own version for entry into the hotly contested "Men's Victoria Sponge" section of the village show. That's right, very hotly contested, possibly one of the most competitive sections of the entire show.
This cake was baked partly because Jane's was still fresh in my mind and partly because The Family Cookbook version caught my eye. The recipe was the same as any other I have used but for one difference, the eggs are weighed (in their shells) and then the other ingredients are weighed to match. My four eggs came 282g so that is the exact amount of flour, sugar and butter I used and the result was a fine big cake, truthfully the best I have ever made.