We’ve got a four-day weekend here in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – that is, 60 years since the young princess ascended the throne.
With street parties, barbecues and flags all in place, celebratory cakes will also be high on the list of priorities for many Brits (along with copious amounts of alcohol, in the guise of celebrating our Queen’s lengthy rule).
Elizabeth Sponge is simply a variation on the classic Victoria Sponge, named after our reigning monarch (and myself, of course). These cupcakes include a hidden layer of strawberry in the centre, along with red, white and blue striped icing.
I’ll be honest – the fancy icing is a little fiddly (never before have you heard such bad language directed at an icing bag) but I think it’s worth the effort.
Of course these wouldn’t fit the London Baking theme without some sort of tenuous punk connection, like the Anarchy in the UK cupcakes that I made for the royal wedding last year.
That’s why the flags are adorned with circled As (grrr, anarchic baked goods!) and the God Save the Queen slogan that the Sex Pistols used for their controversial hit single that was released to conincide with the Silver Jubilee in 1977.
I’ll leave you with the recipe below. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Putney to celebrate the Jubilee (by which I mean ‘spend all day in the pub’).
What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Seedless strawberry jam
For the buttercream icing:
340g/12oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
150g/5.25oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Red and blue paste food colouring ( I used Sugarflair Christmas Red and Navy Blue)
Icing whitener ( I used Wilton)
Disposable icing bags
Makes 12 cupcakes
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases (Union Jack ones, if you can find ’em). Chuck the sifted flour, sugar, margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract. One it’s all mixed together, give it a quick whisk so that it’s light and fluffy.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases and in the oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After removing from the the oven, let the cupcakes cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Once they’re completely cool, you’ll need to cut out a chunk from each cake to add in the jam. Carefully score a circle around the top of the cake with a sharp nice, then retrace the circle with the knife at an angle so that you cut out a section (in a vaguely conical shape). Use a teaspoon to dollop a tiny blob of jam in the crater, then replace the ‘lid’.
Next up – the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream in the butter using a fork. Once it’s all mixed in and smooth, divide the icing into three bowls.
Colour one red, using paste colouring (apply sparingly with a cocktail stick and work in with a fork until you get the colour you want). Do the same with the blue colouring and if you want, add a few drops of icing whitener to the third bowl.
Now comes the tricky bit. You’ll need four disposable icing bags. Half fill three bags with the three different colours (you can always add more as you go along). Next snip the end of the fourth bag so that a large star nozzle fits comfortably.
Next, snip the ends from the other three bags and put them all inside the fourth, making sure that the tips all fit inside the nozzle (this is the bit that takes time, patience and, potentially, a lot of swearing). Once in place, you can ice away as usual.