Recently, I visited Olney Farmer’s Market where I picked up a bundle of foodie delights to experiment with over the coming weeks. As I was in serious need of a good pot of jam, I paid a visit to the ‘Humbers Homemade Preserves’ stall to sample a few of the delicacies they had on offer.
Based in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, Humbers Homemade Preserves are a small company set up by Vickie when life changing circumstances in 2007 saw her making tons and tons of jam in her kitchen at home without a jam lover on hand to eat it! I don’t think that would happen in my home but I am certainly glad it did in Vickie’s as from then on, the business grew and now Humbers visits over 15 different farmer’s markets a month and supplies local delis, farm shops and hotels.
As you can see from the label, Humbers have won several awards including the ‘Taste’ seal of approval. They sell a wide range of jellies, jams, curds and chutneys and had several available to taste at the farmer’s market. For full details of where you can purchase products from the Humbers range, check out their website here.
I went for a pot of raspberry jam and it truly was delicious! The only disappointment was that they had run out of larger jars of the stuff! Lovely and sweet, but not too sickly, I knew exactly how I wanted to use the jam……
What is more perfect than a classic Victoria sponge with tons of buttercream and lashings of homemade raspberry jam? I can’t think of much, so last weekend I decided to whip together a quick cake for grazing over after mother’s day lunch. Unfortunately, as I had a friend visiting and I’m still adjusting to my new oven, it was a bit of a haphazard attempt! The below recipe is from the Great British Bake Off ‘How to Bake’ cookbook and still hasn’t failed me yet, despite my distracted attempts last weekend….
For the sponge:
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
Half tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
For the filling:
150g Humbers raspberry jam
125g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
3 – 4 tbsp milk
Tsp vanilla essence
A few drops red food colouring (optional)
Caster or icing sugar (to finish)
For the sponge:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease two 20.5cm sandwich tins and line with baking paper.
2. Beat the butter in a bowl or electric mixer until softened. Gradually add the sugar and beat for several minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Break the eggs into a measuring jug and beat lightly with the vanilla essence.
4. Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture looks like it is starting to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.
5. Sift the flour and add to the batter, folding it in with a metal spoon, ensuring that you do not over-mix and knock the air out.
6. Make sure that all ingredients are combined before pouring the batter into two separate tins, distributing as evenly as possible.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the sponges are golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave for a minute in the tins before removing, using a knife if necessary, and turning on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing:
8. Meanwhile, make the icing. In an electric mixer or using a large bowl and wooden spoon, beat the butter until soft.
9. Beat in the icing sugar before adding the milk, vanilla essence and food colouring (if using). Mix until all ingredients are combined.
10. Once the cakes are cool to the touch, spoon the jam liberally onto the sponge you will be using for your base. Then top with a ridiculous amount of buttercream (if you are only using it in the middle of the cake) and top with the remaining sponge layer allowing icing to ooze out of the middle and drip down the sides of the cake for a rustic effect. Sprinkle caster or icing sugar on top and viola, time to dig in!!!
Of course, this recipe provides enough buttercream to ice the entire cake, including the top and sides, but we wanted a massive amount of tasty filling; as the pictures show we certainly got the desired effect! We also used a, some may say, excessive amount of jam but when it is as good as Humbers’, it seems rather silly not to!
The jam complemented the sponge cake perfectly and along with the pink buttercream, the cake was transformed from a typical Victoria sponge to something a little more interesting, whilst supporting local businesses along the way!
Don’t forget, Olney Farmer’s Market is this coming Sunday so be sure to pay it a visit and you can pick up some Humbers Homemade Preserves of your very own!