I’m pretty much over this cold – hooray for me! Kramer, of course, caught it immediately after me. Sorry, honey. At least we got sick last week and not this week, because we’re headed to Austin on Wednesday! Yee-haw. I’ve never been and I’m really excited. I’m going to eat so much BBQ that I think my face is going to fall off. Or at least I hope so. The reason we’re going is that Kramer has a work trip planned, so we figured, why not just make a vacation out of it? I’ve made a map of restaurants to check out and bars to go to, and it looks like the scrawlings of a mad man, but I like being prepared and also there is way too much to do! I think I may or may not have added 70+ places to this map. I know. I have a problem. But at least I can readily admit it. I made reservations at Uchi and Midnight Cowboy, but what do you fine people think are the spots that we shouldn’t miss? It’s been cold and sort of miserable in NY, too, so I’m stoked to get away from this rainy, windy weather and head towards some warm, welcoming sunshine. It looks like we’re going to have glorious mid-80s temperatures during our time there. The vacation gods are smiling down on us, it would seem. So let me know what to do in Austin! Is it worth heading over to the Salt Lick? Is Barton Springs the best outdoor activity? Where are the good happy hours? Tell me your secrets.
As you may know, I’m a big Bonne Maman fan. I’m sure you are, too. Who doesn’t love spreading their lovely strawberry jam over a piece of warm toast, maybe with a little butter? It’s the simple things, really, right? Honestly, sometimes I spend time making a big, beautiful breakfast with a lot of components, especially if we’re lucky enough to have a lazy Sunday with no plans, but sometimes, all I really want is toast with jam and butter. Or these Victoria sponge cakes. I’m not picky. I’ve partnered with Bonne Maman before when I made this jelly doughnut bundt cake, and I’m back at it again with the Bonne Maman because they are awesome and also they’re hosting a Mother’s Day sweepstakes! Visit their site to find out how to enter their Share the Love contest, which you’re going to want to do because they are offering $4,500 so that one lucky mom can have a super fun day off on them. Mother’s Day is only a month away, and your mom deserves to treat herself to a trip to Paris, doesn’t she? If you get your hands on that sweet, sweet, $4.5k, you can make that happen for her. If not, though, you can download a coupon for $2 off a jar of jam and make her these super cute Victoria sponge cakes. That’s what they call a win-win. My friend recently told me about how addictive The Great British Bake Off is, and so when I mentioned I was trying to think of something to make with jam, her first suggestion was a Victoria sponge. I was a little nervous about making it, because apparently this sponge cake is getting into hallowed ground territory for a lot of Brits, but I’ve gotta say, I was pretty, pretty, pretty pleased with these miniature versions. The sponge was just that: spongey. In the best way possible, that is. It was sort of light but also nice and buttery i.e. perfection. I then filled these sweet little vanilla-laced cakes with beautiful strawberry jam and orange-scented whipped cream, topped it all off with powdered sugar, and, as you are wont to do, took them to a bar to share with friends where they were well received. One friend ate four in total. I think if you can’t hook your mom up with an all-expenses-paid day off, the least you could do is make her these mini Victoria sponge cakes. I think she’ll still be happy with them as a runner-up prize. Just make sure you brew her some good coffee or tea to go along with them!
Let’s get started!
Throw your batter together and bake those cakes.
Then make your super classy orange whipped cream.
Slice the domed part of your cakes off, and then slice them in half.
Add your jam and whipped cream – are you getting excited?
Sandwich those suckers together, dust with powdered sugar, and ta-da! You’re basically Queen Victoria now.
These are so much better than a cupcake.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ¾ cup strawberry jam
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 12-cup muffin tins with butter or non-stick spray (and I mean really generously) and set aside.
- Cube your butter and add it to your mixing bowl along with your granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add in your eggs one at a time, beating the previous one in fully before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in your vanilla extract.
- Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add it to your batter and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Spoon 2-tablespoon sized dollops of batter into your prepared muffin tins, and bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Allow the cakes to cool fully.
- Once cooled, use a butter knife to gently remove the cakes from the tins. In the bowl of your mixer, whisk the heavy cream for 5 minutes or so on medium-high speed, until whipped cream forms. Alternatively, you can just buy the whipped cream - this is up to you. Add your orange zest and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the domed top off of each cake (you can snack on these as your cook's reward - enjoy), then slice each cake in half through the center. Spoon a dollop of jam followed by a dollop of whipped cream onto one half, and then close each cake like a sandwich, placing the less-pretty side down so that the cakes look flat and even. Continue until you've made all of your miniature cakes.
- Dust each cake with powdered sugar and serve. These will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to one day. If you like, you can make the whipped cream and cakes a day ahead and assemble them on the day you plan to serve them.