This is the very first technical challenge ever set by Mary Berry in the Great British Bakeoff. I adapted it to be plant-based.
It’s a Victoria sandwich cake, a bit like an American strawberry shortcake – vanilla cake with strawberry jam and cream in the middle, dusted with icing sugar and fresh strawberries on top.
My grandma grew up in England, so I’m imagining that she liked to eat this when she was a little girl.
I’m still working on a good vegan whipped cream recipe, but this one made from coconut milk is very tasty – you just need to set it in the fridge overnight before using it, or it will be too soft and run out over the edges of the cake.
I learned that the hard way. 🙂
The sponge is light and moist, with a bit of turmeric and maple syrup added to achieve the yellowy cake color that eggs would normally bring.
The contrast of the simple cake with the bursty tang of strawberry is lovely. No complaints at our house over this bake.
Here is the recipe if you want to try to make it yourself too!
Great British Bakeoff Season 1, Episode 1, Technical Challenge
- 400 g flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 250 g sugar
- 115 mL canola oil
- 400 mL soy milk
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 14 oz can of coconut cream, or take the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1-3 Tbsp tapioca flour (if cream is too liquidy)
- 4 Tbsp strawberry jam
- 2 Tbsp icing sugar to dust on top
- 10 fresh strawberries, sliced
Make the cake: mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another, stir in the wet ingredients into the dry just until well combined, pour into 2 greased 9″ cake pans, bake at 350F for 30 minutes, cool 5 minutes in pan, remove to rack to cool completely.
Make the cream: blend the chilled coconut cream ingredients with chilled electric beaters until smooth, about 30 seconds, then beat in the icing sugar and tapioca flour for 1 minute, being careful not to overbeat. Chill for at least an hour to firm up in the fridge before using – overnight is better.
Decorate: Assemble the first cake bottom-side down, slice off the top if it’s not very flat on top, spread the jam on top, arrange strawberry slices around the outside, add a layer of whipped cream, add the other cake on top with the flat-side down, dust with icing sugar, garnish with sliced strawberries in a pretty pattern.
Chill the cake for 30 minutes if you have time, otherwise dig in and enjoy!