It’s a piece of cake: Executive pastry chef Tracey Rutt
There is nothing more British than a good Victoria sponge, best enjoyed at a summer picnic and washed down with a glass of fizz.
While the popular dessert can be found in most bakeries and supermarkets, a homemade alternative can taste all the sweeter – especially if you follow the advice of executive pastry chef Tracey Rutt.
Here, she shares her top tips for making a sponge fit for royalty, including one common mistake to avoid and why she wraps the finished product in cling film.
The proof is quite literally in the pudding for Tracey, who worked with Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck before moving to Surrey’s award-winning gastropub The Victoria Oxshott.
The first ingredient in the recipe for Victoria sponge success? Good equipment.
Tracey tells MailOnline Travel: ‘When making the English classic, Victoria sponge, I always like to use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to create a well-aerated mix, which will be a lighter sponge.’
Choosing the right vanilla product can also make a difference, according to Tracey.
She says: ‘I add scraped vanilla pods to the butter and sugar mixture.
‘You can use vanilla essence, but I find vanilla pods give the best flavour and overall best result.
‘Make sure the butter is just soft, and not liquid, when mixing the butter and the sugar.
Tracey tells MailOnline Travel: ‘When making Victoria sponge , I always like to use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to create a well-aerated mix, which will be a lighter sponge [stock image]’
Tracey is an executive pastry chef at the award-winning gastropub The Victoria Oxshott (above)
‘Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour.
‘But be careful not to over mix or this will result in the mix separating.’
There are also dos and don’ts when it comes to adding the eggs.
Tracey says: ‘For the eggs, it’s best to have them at room temperature as it means the yolks and whites combine more easily, ensuring a more even bake.
One common mistake people make is opening the oven too early, causing the cake to drop
‘Make sure eggs are cracked into a separate bowl before adding to the sponge mix because this will ensure you don’t add in broken shell to the mixture.
‘To the creamed sugar and butter mix, add the eggs one at a time, slowly.
‘After each egg, sift in some of the flour and mix.
‘Alternate, adding an egg and some flour, mixing after each addition, until all the ingredients are combined.
‘Once everything is combined, I pour into a lined cake tin and bake.’
Tracey reveals one common pitfall to avoid for those hoping to become a legend in the baking.
She says: ‘One common mistake people make is opening the oven too early, causing the cake to drop.’
Her cling film tip, meanwhile, is guaranteed to make you the toast of the picnic.
Tracey reveals: ‘A very good tip I do with all my cakes and sponges is once they come out of the oven, I wrap them with cling film and pierce some small holes in.
‘This will guarantee a soft moist sponge.’
Tracey’s twist on the classic Victoria sponge is currently on the menu at The Victoria Oxshott.
Tracey’s latest twist on the classic Victoria sponge (above) is made with tempered white chocolate ‘demi spheres’ filled with ‘a vanilla pastry cream, fruit compote, jam, vanilla sponge, a thin wafer biscuit, and ice cream or sorbet’
The dessert is her ‘signature creation’ at the gastropub and it changes seasonally depending on the available fruit in season.
Tracey explains: ‘It consists of two tempered white chocolate demi spheres, filled with a vanilla pastry cream, fruit compote, jam, vanilla sponge, a thin wafer biscuit, and ice cream or sorbet – depending on the best combination that works with the available seasonal fruit.
‘It’s finished off with pate de fruit, then blitzed and piped, and a dusting of sherbet added.’
She adds: ‘When I create my desserts, they are a nostalgic experience creating innovative desserts that invoke a memory you know and love, with an exciting twist.
‘The Victoria sponge dessert is an example of that. It’s not just a slice of cake on a plate.’
The current version of Tracey’s Victoria sponge is made with rhubarb, which is in season from April to July.
This is due to change to strawberry in the next few weeks when Tracey is happy with what is ripe.