I’ve written a bit about the studying that I’m doing, but nothing about the day job. Well. I work at the Open University, in a little team who are responsible for finding out what students think about their courses and then making sure that the people who need to know how to make the courses better can do just that*. Quite recently, we got talking in the office about baking: there are quite a few people who like baking but sometimes find that we just don’t have a large enough audience for the things we create. We’re a small team but there are just enough people to make the occasional production of a cake or plates of biscuits a worthwhile distraction from the day to day business of numbers and student happiness. Being fans of the wondrous Great British Bake-Off, we decided to add a themed element to the proceedings: every month or so, we would decide on a theme and anyone who wanted to take part would make and share their interpretation of it.
It was decided that the inaugural round should involve sponge. We were free to interpret that as we chose – so I decided to go for a good, old fashioned Victoria sponge: it’s picture below along with an assortment of its fellow entrants. I say entrants – we’re too fluffy (and too fragile of ego) to actually make this into a competition. To be honest, it’s mainly for the benefit of the bakers! (NB Mine’s the one with the knife sticking out of it. Read into that what you will…)
The event was great fun – the team enjoyed the cakes, the bakers enjoyed the baking… and we might just have to make this a regular event!
Here’s the recipe I used. Now, despite following it faithfully, the eagle-eyed reader may notice that my cake is a little on the collapsing-sinking side. I can’t blame Nigel, I think it might be my oven…
- 220g/8oz caster sugar
- 220g/8oz butter, plus extra for greasing
- 4 free-range eggs, beaten
- 220g/8oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam
- 600ml/1 pint 2fl oz double cream, whipped
- icing sugar, to dust
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
- Grease and line two 23cm/9in cake tins.
- Beat the sugar and butter together in a bowl until pale and creamy, then gradually add the eggs, alternating with a tablespoon of flour. Gently fold in the rest of the flour and vanilla extract, then divide equally between the two cake tins.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- When cool, spread one cake with jam and whipped double cream, then place the other cake on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices.
* Disclaimer: the team actually does a lot more than just this! But that’s the aspect that I mainly work on. And you’re here to read about cakes, not stats. If you’ve wandered over in a work capacity and want to know about samples or surveys then drop me an email here 🙂