When it comes to making Victoria sponge, the British baking maven admits she's not a traditionalist.
Whether you were introduced to British matriarch of baked goods Mary Berry by her judging duties on The Great British Bake-Off (The Great British Baking Show on PBS in the U.S.) or well before that from her numerous cookbooks and TV appearances, you'd probably assume she's one for doing things the old-fashioned way. After all, as a master of traditional pastries, Berry was known to be a stickler for technical execution on GBBO. But in a recent roundup of recipes for The Telegraph, Berry admits that she's given up on the more laborious method of mixing up the batter for a Victoria sponge cake.
If you're familiar with Victoria sponge, you'll know the proper old-school way to achieve optimal rise and texture from the final product errs on the side of tedious. According to Food & Wine Test Kitchen Manager Kelsey Youngman, first the butter and sugar are creamed together until they're light and fluffy, then the eggs are added one at a time. "This method does a few things: creaming butter and sugar traps air, which will help the cake rise, and help create a light texture in the final sponge. Adding the eggs one at a time has a similar effect. The whipped eggs will trap air, and adding them individually will help prevent the batter from splitting (essentially getting slimy and heavy)." The flour is gently folded in to prevent overdevelopment of the gluten and making the cake too dense or chewy while retaining the air you've worked so hard to incorporate.
Berry says to heck with all that. "I no longer prepare a Victoria sandwich with the traditional creaming and folding methods."
So how does Mary Berry say to work around this time-consuming process? "This all-in-one method gives excellent results every time," she explains. Berry's recipe calls for cold baking spread (yes, essentially margarine instead of butter) directly from the fridge which is beaten together with caster sugar, four eggs, flour, and baking powder. Yup, she essentially just dumps all the ingredients into the bowl and blends until smooth. So much for elbow grease! Hey, if Mary Berry is giving us permission to skip a few steps, we won't argue too much!
To see Berry's entire recipe and her other no-fuss desserts, check out the entire article here.