Harvest Festival at Surrey Docks City Farm
Surrey Docks City Farm is located in Rotherhithe on the south side of the river Thames, literally right by the river. It’s not a huge farm but provides visitors with unique opportunities to learn about farming and food production. They have an outdoor brick oven, a blacksmith’s shed and café on site.
Last weekend was the farm’s harvest festival where farm produced meat and eggs were on sale, together with plants, honey and jam. There were children running one of the stalls selling cakes, managing a competition to guess the number of sweets in a jar and the apple bobbing competition. It was heart-warming seeing their enthusiasm in doing a good job for the farm and hopefully picking up a few skills along the way, together with the other adult volunteers. Brought a smile to my face.
The farm’s mission statement from its site states:
”Our mission is to provide educational and practical opportunities for all people in the local community and beyond to learn about farming, food production, animal care, horticulture, crafts, cooking and nutrition. We promote teamwork, responsibility, respect for people and nature, sustainability, health and recreation”.
The Farm relies heavily on public donations and the generous work of many volunteers, like my friend Paul and the lovely people we met there. They really work hard to keep the farm running for the enjoyment of visitors. Do check out their website and if you’re ever in the area, hop in for a visit.
For the harvest festival, Paul asked if I’d bake something for the farm to sell. I was happy to oblige and figured I could knock out a couple of classic Victoria sponge cakes.
The recipe for the cakes is adapted from Home Bake by Eric Lanlard. I’ve made an extra indulgent version before but kept these simple. One was filled with lemon curd and the other, raspberry jam. I was told both went down a treat!
Recipe for ONE classic Victoria sponge cake, serves 8-10 persons
What you’ll need
- 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 175g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 1 1/2tsp baking powder
- 5tbsp lemon curd/raspberry jam
- 150ml whipping cream, whipped to stiff
- Icing sugar for dusting
To make your cake
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 20cm (8in) sandwich tins with extra butter, and base-line each with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a freestanding electric mixer on a medium-high speed (speed 6 on my Kitchenaid), until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs one at a time until creamy and well combined. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mix, and fold everything together gently using a spatula or metal spoon. You should have a light and fluffy mixture.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until they are well risen and spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and peel away the paper. Leave to cool completely.
- Spread the lemon curd/strawberry jam over one of the cakes and then the whipped cream on top. Place the other cake on top before dusting with icing sugar.
Recipe adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake