What’s on my plate: a simple cake

Does one ever need an excuse to make and eat cake? I guess not, but my excuse this weekend was to make a cake for my Name Day ie St Barbara’s Day on 4th December. I decided just to make that old classic, a Victoria sponge, making a filling of raspberry jam (or rather ‘conserve’ as it says on the label) and mascarpone. Like a lot of people I guess, the Victoria sponge was one of the first cakes I baked, and one done so often that ‘4:4:4:2’ is impressed on my mind – that is, 4 ounces of butter, 4 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of self-raising flour and 2 eggs. Naturally, I learned how to make one from that stalwart classic I refer to all the time for basic baking, the British classic Be-Ro book which I have mentioned in previous posts.

It really is a very simple cake – cream together 100g of butter and 100g caster sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time with a little flour, then fold in the rest of the flour and pour the batter into a small cake tin and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 180C. It was at this point things went a little pear shaped….first I forgot I have a fan oven, so should have decreased the cooking time by about 5 minutes. Worst of all…do you know what I did dear readers? I opened the oven door during cooking. I was measuring the space to see how much room we had for a new fridge and was just checking I could still open the over door…..

Anyway, the cake turned out tasty and still very light despite falling a bit and having a slightly crispy edge. I split the cake and added the filling, dusted the top with icing sugar, made a pot of Earl Grey tea then cut us both a slice. The Be-Ro book makes a small cake, which is fine when there are just two of you. Actually, I have noticed that the quantities in these old books are always much less than in modern books – anyone else notice this?

Verdict? Nothing beats a Victoria sponge

Would I make again? Yes – and I will reduce the cooking time and not open the oven door!

Rating ** out of *** as I know I can do better!

This well be entered in the What’s on Your Plate blog challenge hosted by Canadian bloggers Widow Badass and Retirement Reflections. This goes live on the first Wednesday of each month and you can join in too with a food related post, just by adding yours to their linkup.

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com or lofgren@thistlesandkiwis.com


  1. I use my old BeRo books often.
    A few years ago they brought out the 41st edition, which I bought.
    They “modernised” some of the old recipes and added new ones.
    Quite frankly I hate it – I look at it but go back to the old ones for tried and trusted recipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks great. We have a much used, much loved Be-Ro book amongst our kitchen collection. I’m delighted to report that Mrs P got it out recently to start work on a Christmas cake. She makes it every year and it’s always one of the highlights of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to always use the Be-Ro Christmas cake recipe too in the days when I made Christmas cake (my husband isn’t keen, so I just eat other people’s these days). I think those of us with Be-Ro books love them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Barbara – Thank you for joining us at #WOYPBC. I am sadly not much of a baker and have never heard of the Be-Ro books. I will be making a Gingerbread Cake with friends tomorrow. I will take your advice and keep my oven door shut during the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Be-Ro is a British brand of flour and they produced a series of cook books with all the basic baking recipes – scones, cakes, pastry etc. It was how many of us learned to bake.

      Yes – do keep the door shut!! 🙂


  4. This is exactly my kind of cake -simple and delicious! I made something quite similar on the weekend but with almond flour, sugar, and eggs and it was perfect! I even cut a few pieces in half and spread jam on them!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. The cake looks delicious, I remember my mother making Victoria sponge, absolutely delicious. I agree about older recipe measurements…. smaller amounts. However, these days quite a lot of the recipes don’t have as much sugar and butter…..which is sad, but probably necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I baked the cake last night (and already sliced and froze the extras). I should have taken a photo! But its yellow butter cake base and rum batter & glaze were moist and delicious. I’m gaining confidence!

        Liked by 1 person

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