Sunday, 2 November 2014

Classic Victoria Sponge and a review of the Oregon Scientific kitchen timer

I was recently sent a Oregon Scientific kitchen timer to review for this blog. I was undecided about what to bake for a review post, when I realised, what's more of a test than a classic Victoria sponge cake? Not only is this a delicious, simple, wonderful cake to eat, but it is also a traditional challenge for the home baker. If you can't make a good Vicky sponge, there's no hope. Something that was captured on this year's Great British Bake Off in the final.

The recipe I used was your classic and simple Victoria sponge:
6oz butter
6oz caster sugar
6oz self-raising flour
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
Dash of milk (semi-skimmed)

I don't follow Mary Berry's rule of bung it all in together and mix - I stick to the traditional creaming of butter and sugar, add the eggs and paste, sift in the flour and baking powder, and add a bit of milk.

Here comes the science bit - bake for 22 minutes at 170C degrees.

I decided it was a good idea to figure out how the Oregon Scientific  kitchen timer worked before making my cake - I didn't want all the air to sneak out of the mixture while I was frantically pressing buttons. But I needn't have worried, as it was really simple to set up. There are two windows, as you can set two timers at once - this will be really handy for Christmas dinner when you're cooking a million different dishes at once. You can use one window as a clock too, and there's a stopwatch option too.

Thankfully setting the timer didn't mean a hundreds beeps - unlike the timers used on GBBO (one of my favourite memories of this year's show was Chetna pressing her timer a thousand times, I think because of Jo Brand's An Extra Slice). I was impressed with how easy the timer was to use.

It was accurate and certainly rousing - I wandered off into our lounge to see how easy it was to hear the timer from across the house - nothing to worry about there, as it was louder than our smoke alarm. I would like to see more of a volume control, as I'm sure the neighbours knew my cake was ready too. There is a switch to select mute, quiet, or loud, but I didn't dare try the 'loud' button as I'm sure the local fire engines would have arrived. I'd like more control over the volume.

The only other downfall was the strength of the magnets - the timer wouldn't sit happily on the front of my fridge, but kept slipping down. But I wouldn't keep it on the fridge anyway, so that wasn't really an issue.

Oh, and the cake was delicious, by the way...

The Oregon Scientific kitchen timer was given to me in return for a review on this blog; this is not a paid-for blog and all opinions are my own.