65th Birthday Afternoon tea


Today my fantastic builder (also a family friend) Colin had a fabulous afternoon tea to celebrate his 65th Birthday (which took place earlier this week). He asked if I would contribute a few cupcakes to spell out C-O-L-I-N-A-T-S-I-X-T-Y-F-I-V-E and a Victoria Sponge and I was more than happy to oblige, on the understanding he would pop over and fix my leaking boiler! Good deal for me I think!

I used my standard Nigella Lawson Victoria Sponge recipe from her How to be a Domestic Goddess book:


225g Unsalted butter, very soft

225g Caster sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract* when halved for cupcakes replace with lemon zest & juice (as noted above)

4 Large eggs

200g Self-raising flour

25g Cornflour (note you can use 225g self-raising flour instead)

1 tsp Baking powder

3-4 Tbsp milk20130324-193241.jpg


I use the traditional cake method for this cake:

1) Cream butter and sugar, beat until light and fluffy

2) Sift all dry ingredients and combine gently with a metal spoon (so as not to knock the air out)

3) Add all wet ingredients to a jug and whisk lightly until combined

4) Add the wet and dry ingredients alternately, mixing all the time

5) Divide between two sandwich tins and bake for 20 minutes @ 170 degrees

6) Cool and layer with cream or vanilla cream on the bottom half and raspberry jam on the other half

I made this recipe twice.  Once I used it with the vanilla extract for the Victoria Sponge exactly as above, the second time I made it without vanilla and halved the cake batter into two separate bowls;

To bowl one, I added a tsp vanilla extract and combined

To bowl two, I grated half a lemon zest and a quarter lemon juice and combined.  When using lemon juice I used less milk.

Then I scooped this batter into sixteen muffin sized cupcakes, in total.


For Icing


500g Icing sugar, sieved

300g Butter or stork, softened

1 Tsp Vanilla extract for the Vanilla Icing

Zest of half a lemon and small squeeze of lemon juice for Lemon Icing


1) Add butter to icing sugar and mix gently at first to start combining, I used my electric mixer, so put a clean tea towel over the top to prevent masses of icing sugar dust spilling out into the kitchen

2) When combined add the relevant flavouring and turn up the power to make icing soft and pliable, beat for 3-5 minutes

3) Pipe with bag and nozzle or spread with a palette knife onto cool cakes as you wish

4) I added some letters to the top of these cakes and made these from sugar paste, rolled to c. 5mm thick and cut with metal cutters; all necessary items are available from good cook/baking shops and Hobby Craft

Delicious and beautiful 🙂


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