When you think of a cake it’s usually one of the classics, a childhood treat, or an old favourite, usually introduced to you by your Mum. Forget your duffins, whoopee pies, cake pops or macarons, these fickle cake fashions will come and go but as far as I’m concerned old-school is by far the best. So this Mother’s Day I’m baking my Mum, Linda Rose one of her favourites.

I’m taking the Waitrose.com Victoria Sandwich recipe and paying homage to the days when I made Mum cards covered in glue and glitter, the days when this kind of sentiment meant more than anything bought from a shop.  Like then, the cake is a little over-the-top, two-tone sponge, thick seedless raspberry jam centre and a deep rose-swirled buttercream finished off with Waitrose Stardust, it’s true some things never change.

There are plenty of ideas on their site that will whet the juices of both the novice, the advanced baker and all those in between. Alongside the recipes are comments from visitors to the site who’ve tried them. You’ll be absolutely clear about what works and what doesn’t and tinker to suit your tastes. There are all kinds of fun things to make including raspberry and rose marshmallows and chocolate nutty puddles.   If you need a helping hand, there are ‘how to’ videos, along with tips and techniques.  Just go and visit, you’ll spend hours lost in cyber-space but you’ll come away a little more knowledgable about how to filet a fish!

I digress, back to the Victoria Sponge …

One of the easiest I’ve made, with perfect results.

Sandwiched Victoria Sponge

I meddled with the recipe a little, my Mum loves pink and she adores roses so using the Waitrose recipe as I guide I made the following changes.  Once all the ingredients had been mixed, I split it equally into two bowls and coloured each a different shade of pink using bake stable colouring.   Check the label on the food colouring you buy and ignore any that say “not bake stable” that’s fine for colouring liquids, it just won’t survive being baked. If you use baking colour that isn’t bake stable you will be left with an uncoloured cake. Fact.

I also made up buttercream in larger quantities than the recipes I could find on the site.  Use this as a guide for how to mix buttercream.  I used 500g of very soft butter with 250g icing sugar and again coloured it. If you use non-refined icing sugar and not regular icing sugar the finished colour will be very different.  Non-refined icing sugar is light brown and hasn’t gone through the processes to make it white, you’ll need to adjust your colouring accordingly.  You can see from my results that I used non-refined and that it’s more blush than Barbie.

Sliced Victoria Sponge

You have to roughly cover the cake with crumb coating so that the roses have glue to grip to.  Nothing fancy just a thin layer applied using a spatula or knife dipped in a mug of hot water to help spread it easily.  I haven’t got a turntable so put the cake on a silver board and put that on a custard tin, which worked rather well.  Where are the Dragon’s when you have a great invention?

Crumbed cake

To create the roses, I filled up a piping bag (you can buy disposable bags on rolls) and used an open star piping nozzle.  I piped roses by starting at the bottom of the sides and working my way up to the top of the cake.  It’s no work of art, great from a distance, but my practice cake tasted amazing.  There are no videos to show you how to pipe the roses on the Waitrose recipe site for this technique, and I wish now that I had made one, but seek out an instructional video on YouTube – there are thousands.

Buttercream covered Victoria Sponge

Close up of roses

So ultimately how did it taste? The test cake went into my office and was demolished in 7 minutes. The comments ranged from delicious to this is on a par with the Hummingbird Bakery (which is a very posh, expensive cake shop in London and features in this month’s Waitrose Magazine with Pippa Middleton) and whilst I was incredibly flattered, I’m sure they were just being kind. Here’s a rather extreme close up of the cake sliced.  I was delighted with the sponge cake, it’s my icing technique I need to work on.   Maybe I’ll have it cracked by the time Mother’s Day arrives.  I’ll report back here.

Cake close up

If your Mum’s not got a sweet tooth, worry not. Heston’s whipped up a Mother’s Day Brunch for you to wow her with. The Waitrose recipe site is not just for Mother’s Day but for life. What are you waiting for?

A huge thank you to Waitrose Online Grocery Team who gave me a helping hand with the ingredients for this foodie project.

Senior BBC Journalist who covers live news by day and escapes to eat food and drink gin by night.

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