The Victoria sponge may have earned its name from Queen Victoria, who is said to have regularly eaten a slice of cake with her tea in the afternoon – but it still has plenty of royal fans today. The teatime treat is still enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth II, with royal chefs recently sharing the recipe they use at Buckingham Palace. However, on today’s This Morning, guest chef Alison O’Neill revealed her own modern twist on the classic.
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Presenters Holly Willoughby, 39, and Phillip Schofield, 58, were treated to a slice of cake today as famous shepherdess Alison O’Neill shared her delicious homemade recipe.
The hill farmer is best known for her guided walks as The Barefoot Shepherdess, but today she joined the duo from the Yorkshire Dales to reveal her baking tips.
Alison said she was pleased to see that her recipe was not that different from the one used by the royal pastry chefs for the Queen.
However, though her sponge is much the same as the regal recipe, Alison noted that she uses fresh strawberries, raspberries and cream rather than the more popular jam and buttercream filling.
Alison’s recipe is easy to follow with eight ounces of all of the main ingredients, including the fresh eggs from her farm.
Using her grandma’s mixing bowl, Alison said the trick is to beat the eggs in one at a time, with a small amount of flour, rather than mixing it all at once.
The farmer also recommended sieving the flour for a much lighter sponge. As well as the fresh fruit, the recipe for the filling includes the juice of half a lemon for added zing, as well as fresh mint for decoration.
The result is a super light, refreshing sponge which Phillip said he couldn’t stop eating despite not being a big cake fan.
Holly said the lemon made a great twist for the traditional recipe too.
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Here’s how to make Alison’s go-to Victoria sponge recipe.
For the sponge:
225g/8oz butter or margarine, at room temperature
225g/8oz caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
4 free range eggs
225g/8oz self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
5 tbsp good quality strawberry or raspberry jam
250ml double cream, whipped
115g strawberries, sliced
Juice of half a lemon
Fresh sprigs of mint
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Heat the oven to 180C/160C/Gas four. Grease and line two 20cm (eight inch) sandwich tins until the side and base are lightly coated then line the bottom with a circle of baking paper.
Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time with a little flour.
Gently fold in the rest of the flour adding baking powder
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Use a spatula and remove all the mixture from the bowl, and gently smooth out the surface of each cake.
Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes – check them after 20 minutes.
The cakes are done when golden brown and coming away from the edges of the tins. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool, then run a palette knife around the inside edges of the tins and carefully turn out onto a cooling rack to fully cool.
To assemble the cake, place one half upside down on a plate and spread on plenty of jam, then smooth the cream on top
Arrange the strawberries on top, followed by the raspberries. Squeeze over the lemon juice.
Top with the second sponge, sprinkle over the icing sugar, decorate with the mint and enjoy!
This recipe is also available on the This Morning website here.
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