Showing posts with label Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Welcome guest author Hannah Dennison+ book #giveaway!

Carolyn Hart says of Hannah's work: "The mistress of hilarious British Mysteries. Fabulous fun."

British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside.

Hannah is offering a lovely giveaway - see below!

Take it away, Hannah!

***

Since afternoon tea features quite a lot in my Honeychurch Hall series, I thought it would be a good idea to bake a British classic—the Victoria Sponge.

As the name suggests, this simple cake was named after Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who adopted the new craze for tea parties. However it was Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who is credited as the creator of “teatime.” Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from a “sinking feeling” at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs into her dressing room, but soon she was inviting friends to join her. The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

So here we go!

Hannah's niece Isla in the background!!

Victoria Sponge

Ingredients
4 oz butter
4 oz castor sugar/superfine sugar, not the granulated kind otherwise it will be gritty
2 eggs
Vanilla extract (if you want it)
4 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder (to make it rise unless you can get hold of self-raising flour)
A pinch salt
A tablespoonful of milk

Filling
Strawberry jam is most common but you can add freshly whipped cream

Topping
Icing sugar/powdered sugar

Preparation:
Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge so they will be at room temperature.
Turn oven on to 180 C or 350 F.
Lightly grease two circular 7” pans with either butter paper (i.e. the wrapping from a stick of butter) – or if you don’t have that, a dollop of butter on a piece of Scott towel will do just as well OR, if you are feeling particularly creative, line the pans with parchment/greaseproof paper. This makes it easy to turn the sponge out after cooking.

Method:
Beat the eggs separately in a basin and set aside.
Cube the butter and then mix with the sugar until creamy.
Beat in the eggs (but don’t let them curdle).


Sieve the flour and baking powder together and then fold into the ingredients … do not beat or stir because you’re essentially folding in “air.”
Add the milk and vanilla extract and stir gently. The mixture should have a “dropping” consistency.


Pour into the pre-greased pans and smooth level with a palette knife.
Pop the pans into the middle of the oven (not on the top shelf) for about 18 – 20 minutes.
Note: Do not open the oven door before the 18/20 minutes are up because this will make your sponge sink in the middle.
To test when a cake is done, thrust a skewer into it – if it comes out all sticky, it is not cooked! Put it back into the oven for a further five minutes.
When the cakes are done turn them out onto a wire tray to cool.


Layer on jam and cream and sprinkle with icing/confectioner’s sugar.


Tips:
Always use good quality butter.
Always beat the butter to a cream unless the recipe states to the contrary.
The cake must be placed into the oven as soon as possible after the eggs have been added. If it’s allowed to remain too long, the cake will become heavy.

A little known fact:
In Isabella Beeton's 1874 cookbook, Mrs. Beeton's Cookery and Household Management a recipe is included for Victoria Sandwiches. The original method called for the mixture to be made in a rectangular roasting tin and halved horizontally, filled with jam and sliced into finger-shaped pieces.


For the Giveaway:

I'm offering a lovely raffle bag with English goodies - e.g. two books (one Vicky Hill and one Honeychurch Hall) - English candy etc. Leave a comment here {hint - see the word COMMENTS below -click it} and tell me what your favorite English treat is. Remember to leave your email or a cryptic version of it so I can figure out how to contact you!  Good luck!



You can reach Hannah online: