Mother's Day special - coffee cake for mothers in the New Forest

Who's baking the cake for New Forest mothers?

A mother's favourite for a Mother's Day special cake - Gill's coffee cake, for appreciation of mothers in the New Forest and everywhere!

This is an update of Gill’s Victoria Sponge or an upgrade even, to a Coffee Cake! It's to honour all mothers everywhere for Mother's Day after a very strange year indeed. Please note that the Victoria Sandwich recipe itself is reprinted below.

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I’m sharing my Mum's favourite cake – a Coffee Sponge cake!  She loved this and I used to make for her every Mothers Day!

I use all the same ingredients to the Victoria Sponge cake except instead of vanilla extract I use coffee. The basic Victoria Sponge recipe is reprinted below for your convenience.

coffee cakeBelow I list the extra items you’ll need:

  • Freeze dried instant coffee
  • Boiled hot water
  • Cold water
  • A plastic jug.

So, lets get started!  Make up the coffee.  If you can do this earlier in the day, please do it.  If not, don’t worry, it’ll still be fine and you’ll need more cold water than hot.  So measure out around 3 – 4 dessertspoons of coffee (an extra one if you want it strong), then pour the boiled hot water over to make enough to cover to melt, and then top up to the 200ml marker on the jug in cold water.  Set aside to cool.

Now use the Victoria Sponge recipe below to mix up the cake. 

As it says, preparation is key!

For my coffee cake recipe I decided to use 4 eggs and the measurement was 8¼oz (equivalent is 233g) and so when you get to the part about adding in the eggs and vanilla extract, just add the eggs and some of the flour to stop it curdling, then once mixed in, add in the remainder of the flour with 75ml of the cooled coffee liquid.

Then what does it look like, possibly a bit runny, so you need to add more flour (1¾oz – 50g - is good) and another 25ml of the coffee liquid.  Then because you still have a runny mixture, add a little more flour. 

In mine I added a bit too much flour as it seemed to crack on top, (however it tasted very nice!).

Now mix it in and then spoon into the tins and carry on with the recipe as reprinted below.

Preparing the coffee butter icing

coffee butter icingSo whilst the cakes are cooking, you can prepare the coffee butter icing!  To me there is nothing better than, coffee butter icing!  You can taste the butter and then you take the coffee!

For the coffee cake, I like to just dust the top of the cake with icing sugar, or you can use caster sugar, up to you.  But if you’d like to ice the top you can. 

Do exactly as the recipe says, only instead of milk add in some of the coffee liquid and mix together.  Just be careful as your worktop ends up covered in icing sugar!  How does it taste?  I’d add more icing sugar and then a little more coffee liquid too.  Mix again and then add both again.  The picture shows the colour that the icing needs to be, perhaps even a little darker, so add a little more liquid and some more icing sugar.  You need to get to a consistency that isn’t too wet and isn’t too stiff, but is perfect for spreading on the cake – as seen here in this photo….

Once the cakes are out of the tins and cooled, choose the best levelled cake for the top and pop the top of the other one downwards onto your plate (mine was a little peaked so I cut the top off – you can’t see this in the finished photo!).  And then spoon on most of the icing as seen on the last picture – take to the edges without it going over.  And then when you’re happy add on the other tier with the top being the top of the cake.

Then like this one, shown, you can dust with icing sugar.  The one seen in the photo was enjoyed with a cup of tea (and of course when you’re cutting cake everyone wants a slice!).  And it was delicious!

If you want to add the remainder of the icing on the top, spread it out and pipe on the cake.  Enjoy!

Happy Mothers Day!

This cake can be enjoyed as a Gluten Free version, however I find you need more flour so you’ll need about 10oz (283g) but mix in half and then the remainder.  I find for Gluten free cakes you need a little more flour.

Good luck.

How to bake a perfect Victoria Sandwich cake!

By Gill Hepburn, our Baking Blogger

Hi, I'm Gill.

Welcome to the first of, hopefully many, baking pages on the new Lymington.com website.

I'm not a professional cook or anything like that! However, I am passionate about baking and making cakes, and I'd like to share with you some recipes of my favourite bakes as well as some tips.

Do you ever stand in your kitchen and not know what to make? This happens to me a lot! I may be baking a cake to visit friends with, or making a cake for a forthcoming cake club gathering - which I run regularly.

It's not until I start weighing my eggs (I'll come to the recipe later) that I really decide what I’m going to make!

Do you ever think... What would happen if I try this instead of this? Shall I do this? I do that a lot too!

I very much like diverting from the original recipe. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't!

Yes, I've had my disasters, like a light coffee & walnut cake which I recently made (twice!) for cake club, before reverting back to my foolproof method using the recipe below and tweaking it!

The recipe I'm going to share with you is my mum's Victoria sandwich cake, which she taught me when I was growing up. I still use this recipe now, however I now make cakes using slightly different ingredients. Hopefully, over the next few months I’ll be able to show you some of these variations.

When I was little we used to mix the ingredients by hand, however these days I use an electric hand-whisk, which does the work for me - you can buy these quite cheaply. Alternatively, if you prefer (but by no means essential), you could use the ever popular high-tech equipment (food processor or kitchen-aid).


Now before I divulge the recipe, there are a few things you need to know! The preparation is important!

~ Use two 8 inch (20cm) round sponge tins (they don’t have to be loose-bottomed, if they are that’s ok).
~ Cut out circles of greaseproof paper to fit in the bottom of the tins.
~ grease around the sides of the tin. 
Now turn on electric oven to 170ºc / fan 150ºc.

Victoria Sandwich Tins Prepared


For Mums Basic Vanilla Sandwich Cake recipe, you will need:
Self raising flour
Unsalted softened butter
Caster sugar
3 Medium sized Eggs
Vanilla essence/ paste


Weigh the eggs (in their shells) - this is very important as the following ingredients are used at the same weight:
Caster sugar

I.E., the eggs weigh at 6.1 oz (174g) - now put these to the side.

Now weigh out 6.1 oz (174g) of softened butter and mix until smooth. Now add 6.1 oz (174g) of caster sugar and whisk together until the mixture is light and fluffy!

Break the eggs adding to the creamed mixture at the same time as 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence/ paste and 1 tablespoon of flour (this will stop any curdling) and mix until just combined.

Now add in 6.1 oz (174g) self raising flour as well as 2 tablespoons of milk. Be careful when mixing in the flour - I always lightly fold it in first and then finish off using the mixer. Tip: Do ensure the mixture at the bottom of the bowl has been mixed in well.

Now you’ll be pleased you have prepared your tins! You need to spoon the mixture equally into the 2 tins, making sure the middle of the mixture is slightly lower than around the outside. Tip: this is how to get a level cake! See photo.

victoria sandwich mix in tin

Now pop in the oven and look after 20 minutes - can you gently press the top of the cake and it springs back? If not, give it another 5 or 10 minutes. It should also have a nice light colour on the top! 

Once out of the oven, lightly run a knife around the outside of the cake – this will help loosen for when you take out of the tins later. Once cooled, gently remove from the tins allowing to cool on a wire rack. Now its time to make the butter icing! You will need:

Icing Ingredients

Softened Unsalted Butter
Icing Sugar
Vanilla Essence/ Paste
Strawberry/ Raspberry jam (Blackberry/ Blackcurrant Jam can also be used)
Tip: seedless is best

Tip: As an alternative, you may decide to ice your cake with whipped double/ whipped whipping cream and fruit (i.e. strawberries or raspberries are best!). This makes a lovely light dessert or summer 'afternoon tea' cake!
Tip: Add a little icing sugar to the cream when whipping, especially if a hot day, as it will hold the cream better.

How to make butter icing

Add 1½ oz of butter to a mixing bowl and mix until its slightly lighter in colour. Now add 3 oz of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Be careful when mixing, as the sugar will cover your work surface! (I mix in with a spoon to begin with). Then whisk it up – it will be a little lumpy to begin with, however persevere and it will become good. Taste to test – what’s the consistency like? Does it need a little more icing sugar and milk?

I would continue as it is possibly not quite right yet! Add 2 oz of icing sugar and ½ tablespoon of milk (more if you need it), and again be careful when mixing up. Now test and you should be ready to ice your cake.

Decide upon which cake will be at the bottom. Turn the cake so the top (when you brought out of the oven) is on the plate – this will give you a flat ‘ish surface to add your jam to which you need to spread over the cake (I find this is best done with a fork). See Figure 4 which shows the jam mustn’t come all the way to the edge – leave a little gap all the way round! (This will stop the jam and cream oozing out).

Spread the icing on exactly like the jam, using a small palette knife and not too close to the edge.

Tip: if you have butter icing left over, pop in an airtight plastic container and into the fridge for up to a month. Tip: Bring out well before wishing to use, otherwise its not soft enough. It can be mixed with a fresh batch of butter icing.

Now sandwich together the jam and cream tiers. For ease, sprinkle the top tier with sieved icing sugar. 

Right, I’m off to eat the slice of cake with a nice cup of earl grey tea!

Happy Baking!
Gill Hepburn


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