Sam McKnight Swaps Backstage for the Kitchen

EBT were front row for Sam McKnight's baking debut


By Suzanne Scott

Image by Lauren Daniels
We’re normally accustomed to seeing hairstylist Sam McKnight backstage wielding a hairbrush and commanding a team of stylists, so it was a surprise to see him armed with a wooden spoon in a kitchen at Port Eliot festival this weekend, but that's exactly what he did. If you're not too familiar with McKnight he's a little background for you: he has styled everyone from Kate Moss to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, from Lady Gaga to Kate Winslet and even Princess Diana. Add to that such shows as Chanel, Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood, Balmain (we could go on and on but you get the point).
Showing off his other love (if you follow him on twitter @sammcknight1 you'll know he's passionate about baking), he came ready with a cache of flour, eggs and various other baking supplies to demonstrate his signature Jubilee Victoria Sponge, or as he described it, “the Westwood of cakes”.
Fashion journalist and author Camilla Morton played the role of cook’s assistant while milliner Stephen Jones provided the hat for chef.
Image by Lauren Daniels
On the subject, McKnight says, “baking for me is a form of therapy, it’s relaxing. I’m always away from home, I’m either working on shoots or backstage so to come home and have a solitary day in the kitchen is heaven. I bake because I’m a sugar addict.”
When he’s not baking sponge, ginger cake or his mother’s shortbread for the crews on his shoots, McKnight is swapping recipes with model Karlie Kloss who he says is also an excellent baker. Needless to say once made, his cake lasted all of five minutes - it was delicious.
We know we’re meant to be all about beauty here but we can indulge our sweet tooth from time-to-time can’t we? With that in mind here’s Sam McKnight’s recipe for his delicious Jubilee Victoria Sponge.Ingredients:340g flour, caster sugar and room temperature butter
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp of vanilla essence (the recipe calls for one but McKnight uses three
2 tbsp of milk (the recipe calls for one so Mcknight uses two)
6 medium eggs
5 spoonfuls of your favourite jam
Ginger jam
284ml of fresh cream
Passion fruit
Fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
[1] In a processor mix flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and eggs.
[2] Pour into two sponge tins lined with baking paper.
[3] Bake in the oven for 35mins on 170C
[4] Remove the cakes from the oven, take them out of the tins and allow to cool.
[5] When cool, take a sharp knife and slice the tops off the cakes to make them flat. Don’t throw away the tops, they’ll come in handy later.
[6] Spoon your choice of jam over the bottom half of the cake (McKnight used 5 heaped tablespoons).
[7] Layer chopped strawberries, raspberries and blueberries over the jam.
[8] In a separate bowl add a tablespoon of caster sugar to the cream and whip. Spread the cream over the fruit.
[9] Slice open the passion fruit and spoon its contents over the cream.
[10] Place the second sponge on top of the fruit and cover it with the ginger jam.
[11] Now for the Jubilee part. Take the cake tops from earlier and cut into thin strips. Use the cake strips together with sliced strawberries, whole raspberries and halved blueberries to construct the Union Jack.
[12] Finally, lightly dust everything with caster sugar.
So beauty or baking? “I like cakes because they don’t have an opinion but I’m far more comfortable doing 100 girls at Chanel than I am baking in front of 50 people.” We think you did pretty well, Sam.
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