A ridiculously easy little cake for the heart-shaped day. Mini Victoria sponge, with the favourite filling of jam and cream, made with a cookie cutter.
Valentine’s Day is quite lavishly celebrated between the two of us. There’s a fancy dinner planned in advance and lovingly cooked at home. Or there might be an outing to an excellent restaurant which often means a trip to a nice part of the country.
There'll be a walk if the weather allows or seeing some exciting sights. There are cards with witty funny message. There are gifts beautifully wrapped, favourite chocolates and a bottle of bubbly.
None of it for ME.
Because it is I who makes all that effort on Valentine's Day for The Weather Man. Fourteenth of February is his birthday.
To tell the absolute truth I do get a card too, and a bunch of roses unless I can persuade him not to pay the rip-off Valentine prices.
Frankly I don’t care that much for the occasion as it's a money-spinning exercise for the producers of all things red and heart-shaped. So I'm happy to combine the occasions and sometimes make a proper, full-on birthday cake, and sometimes pander to the hearts and pinks.
Just like with this one: it's the bonus for this year when there will definitely be no takers for full-sized cake or a birthday party. An ideal dessert for Valentine's Day too: two cute individual miniature cakes.
Victoria sponge batter
This is the easiest version: make sure the butter is soft, the eggs at room temperature and just beat the ingredients to smooth batter. It is not challenging and always comes out perfect.
A special tin for heart cake?
You don't need a special tin. It can be baked in virtually any vessel large enough to allow you to cut out two hearts from the sponge baked in it. It is easier to use wide and shallow tin, Swiss roll or similar, because it will yield four hearts at least, to be sandwiched together.
But if you haven't got one, fear not: a smaller, two-heart tin works too as you can slice the baked hearts horizontally and then sandwich them with the filling.
Of course a special heart-shaped tin is excellent too but they are usually bigger and so you'll probably end up with one heart, to split between the two of you - awww, how lovely.
Again, you can bake two separate layers or just one (adjusting the timing accordingly) and split it in layers with a good serrated knife.
Fill the hearts
Jam and cream, what can be simpler or more gorgeous? I recommend good raspberry jam because it's pink but use your favourite.
As for cream, here's a genius tip from Nigella: take it out of the fridge early so it comes to room temperature and it will whip literally at a couple of whisks. Be careful in fact - the first time I followed this advice I ended up with homemade butter.
And that's the cake done bar a dusting of icing sugar. Plus a bonus, or chef's prestige: all the sponge offcuts which I love to spread with butter and have for breakfast on or after Valentine's Day. And if you're not as greedy as me, freeze them for a trifle or a version of Eton mess.