Delicious scents of baking for tea

There is nothing more satisfying than spending an afternoon baking in the kitchen, unless the weather is gorgeous! The house is filled with the comforting smell of freshly – baked cakes and, as a throwback to days gone by, it’s so civilised to invite friends round for afternoon tea. Why not create an occasion, what would be nicer than to invite a few friends round over the weekend and spoil them with your baking?

This simple cake always adds grace and taste to the tea table. However, take note: The strawberry jam has to be absolutely first class. If you don’t have any homemade jam from last summer, try Duchy Originals Organic or the Co-op’s own brand. Don’t skimp on the cream either. I use Coombe Farm double cream because of its richness and colour. Lastly, use good quality unsalted butter and free-range eggs.


Strawberry Victoria Sponge

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter

2 eggs

1 tsp of vanilla essence

half a jar of strawberry jam

half a pint (300ml) double cream

Turn the oven on to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich cake tins. Cream the sugar and butter until pale. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of sieved flour and beat well. Sieve the remainder of the flour into the mixture and add the vanilla essence, folding in carefully. Divide the mixture between the two tins and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. To test the cakes are ready, lightly press the surface with your finger tips. It should spring back and be evenly browned. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Beat the cream with a little extra sugar if desired. When the cakes are cool, sandwich together with the jam and cream and dust with icing sugar. Serve with a cup of Earl Grey tea, or a glass of fizz if you fancy!