Piece of cake

Le Bureau members are a talented bunch. Within the office walls, dancers, singers, foodies and triathletes sit hard at work, indulging their passion in their own spare time.

Joanna Sweetland, Head of Business Development at visualisation studio Vyonyx, is a keen cook and baker. “I’ve been baking since I was two-years old. I’m half French, but I actually learnt from my British father who would stand me on a chair  and show me how to mix flour, sugar, eggs and butter together to make a Victoria Sponge.”

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A scroll through Joanna’s Instagram and Facebook pages suggests her skill has come a long way since, but the sentiment that drives her love of baking remains the same.

“I’ve always had a fascination about food and a love for all things sweet. I love to experiment and try out new recipes like the complicated Fraisier, which I still buy from the patisserie by my grandmother’s house in France.”

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At Le Bureau, Joanna has a ready-made crowd of eager tasters.  “Baking can be an expensive hobby but I get a huge thrill from seeing the joy on people’s faces when they bite into one of my cakes. It is always  an absolute pleasure to bake for LeBureau.”

Inspired? Try one of Joanna’s bakes for yourself:

Joanna’s White Chocolate Sponge with Cream and Summer Fruits

For the sponge:
8 free-range eggs
450g/16oz caster sugar
450g/16oz self-raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
450g/16oz baking spread, margarine or soft butter (room temperature)
1 tbsp of Madagascan vanilla, a vanilla pod or 2 tbsp of cinnamon as a variation

For the filling:
300ml double cream
3 heaped tablespoons of whatever jam you wish

For the topping:
250g icing sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
Any fruits you wish!
2 packs of white chocolate (about 150g per pack, keep some for the decor and some to drizzle over the sides)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Gently heat the knob of butter in a pan and brush two 6in-7in/15cm-17.5cm cake tins with the melted butter. Line the bottom of the two cake tins with a circle of greaseproof paper.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, using an electric whisk or a wooden spoon. Beat well to get lots of air into the mixture (this should take a couple of minutes).
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add a tablespoon of flour if the mixture curdles.
  5. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to over-mix it.
  6. Pour the mixture equally between the two cake tins and level off the top with a spatula. Make a slight dip in the centre with the tip of the spatula if you don’t want them to be pointed in the middle.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently with a finger and are pale golden in colour.
  8. Remove from the oven and take them out of the tins after about 5-10 minutes. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely (for about half an hour).
  9. Spread the sponge with the jam and the whipped cream, then carefully sandwich together.
  10. For the outside, simply mix the butter and icing sugar together (add a 3rd in at a time to prevent mess) then coat the outside of the cake.
  11. Melt the white chocolate and trickle it round the sides of the cake then add your fruit as you wish.
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