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Lemon Victoria sponge with vanilla buttercrea­m & lemon curd


SERVES 6-8 220g butter, softened (I use salted) 200g caster sugar 4 medium eggs 220g self-raising flour seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract zest of 1 lemon ¼ tsp baking powder 7 tbsp lemon curd (shop-bought, or homemade from my book) icing sugar, for dusting FOR THE BUTTERCREA­M 90g butter, softened 180g icing sugar seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract EQUIPMENT 2 x 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tins hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer (optional) 1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and get the centre shelf at the ready. Line the cake tins with baking parchment. 2 Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl. I prefer to do this with a wooden spoon, pushing the mixture on to the side of the bowl until it is combined and then beating it hard until the mixture turns from yellow to a paler shade. You could also use a hand-held electric whisk or a stand mixer. Add two of the eggs to the butter mixture with half the flour and beat together until just combined. Then add the remaining eggs and the rest of the flour along with the vanilla, lemon zest and baking powder and beat like mad to get lots of air into it. 3 Divide the mixture between the lined cake tins and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin, are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you’re using an old-style gas oven, I recommend rotating the cakes two-thirds of the way through, as this gives a more even bake. Once the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool completely in the tins. 4 While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercrea­m. Cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Once the cakes are cooled down completely, place one of the layers on a plate and spread over the buttercrea­m. Spoon the lemon curd over the top of the buttercrea­m and gently place the other cake layer on top. Dust with icing sugar to serve. TIP To make this a traditiona­l Victoria sponge, you can simply omit the lemon zest in the sponge and replace the lemon curd with your favourite strawberry jam.

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