Food for Thought: Specially for Mom

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Treat the mom(s) in your life to a yummy cake that reflects how very dear she is to you.

Mother’s Day was always special at our house and the yearly search for the perfect gift for Mom became a real challenge, especially since my mom never really wanted things. She was someone who wanted experiences like a good meal, a great vacation, or a good conversation. My Dad used to go to Lucchesi’s Dress Store in Landisville for all of Mom’s gifts and the clerk always helped him to find something special. One year it was imported silk stockings, or a pretty pair of Daniel Green slippers and one year in particular, it was a lovely pink robe—all chosen along with a beautiful card and gift-wrapped to perfection! I still have some of those cards that Mom and Dad exchanged at holidays and it is a real treat for Linda and me to look through that treasure trove of memories.

Mom loved her sweets, too, and here is a  recipe imported from the Brits that I know she would have loved with an afternoon cup of tea.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Makes 1 (8-inch) cake

  • 1½ cups butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups self-rising cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cool water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup lingonberry preserves
  • Orange Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two (8-inch) cake pans with baking spray with flour. Line with parchment paper, and spray again; set aside.

In a large bowl and using a mixer at high speed, beat butter until creamy, about three minutes. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about five minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, water, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add egg mixture and flour mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Using a mixer at low speed, beat well after each addition. Beat batter for an additional five minutes at medium-high speed.

Divide batter between prepared pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a wooden pick inserted near centers comes out clean, about 30 to 45 minutes. (Cover with aluminum foil halfway through baking time to prevent excess browning.)

Remove from oven, and let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and transfer cakes to wire racks to let cool completely.

Spread preserves onto one cake layer. Top preserves with Orange Buttercream and remaining cake layer. Cake can be stored, covered, in refrigerator for up to three days.

For a decorative pattern, place a stencil or paper doily atop cake, and sift confectioners’ sugar over template.

Orange Buttercream

Makes approximately 3 cups frosting

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

In the work bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar.

Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and cook whisking constantly until mixture reaches 140° on a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat at high speed for 10 minutes, or until tripled in volume and cool to the touch. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and orange zest, and beat to combine. Buttercream can be used immediately or can be stored, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to three days. If refrigerated, allow frosting to come to room temperature, and beat again before using.

Jean Hecker is a full-time travel agent at Magic Carpet Travels and a part-time foodie. She has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

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