The Victoria Sandwich is possibly the only time where I will promote putting jam on first and then cream. If one is using a buttercream filling, the jam goes on second but when using double cream, as you should for a traditional Victoria Sandwich, the filling is so soft that putting the jam on top of the cream would mean ending up with an awful mess.
The cake, as you may have guessed, is named after Queen Victoria and was created during her reign to celebrate the invention of baking powder. It differed from the pound cake, which was the standard cake at the time, because the Victoria Sandwich was a much lighter cake owing to the addition of a raising agent. A Victoria Sandwich should have cream, raspberry jam and be dusted with icing sugar. In the recipe below, like the recipe from the Women’s Institute, I use a little caster sugar instead.
The cake itself is created using equal quantities of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. It is a very quick and easy cake to bake and, if you are in a hurry, all the ingredients can be placed in a food processor and mixed until a homogenous batter is formed. The only problem with this type of sponge is how sensitive it is to oven times and temperatures. Their sensitivity is so high that they are often used to check ovens and every day before filming the Great British Bake Off, a Victoria sponge would be cooked in each oven to ensure the oven was working properly.
Owing to its simplicity, the Victoria sponge is a fantastic base for many other cakes. It is incredibly easy to adjust to create other cakes – replacement of the vanilla extract with espresso or lemon and orange zest leads to very different but no less delicious sponges. As it is very pale, colouring the batter is simple making Victoria sponge a classic base for rainbow cakes. If you are like me and don’t particularly like chocolate cake, Victoria sponge can be a great way to get your chocolate fix if you replace the traditional cream and jam with chocolate ganache. The cake is sturdy enough to withstand stacking and decorations can be placed on top to make themed cakes, I recently created a Harry Potter Cake!
It may be basic but the Victoria Sandwich cake is a classic for a reason.
For a medium sized cake:
170g (6 oz.) butter
170g (6 oz.) oz sugar
170g (6 oz.) oz self-raising flour or plain flour with 1 ½ tsp baking powder added
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
For a large cake:
225g (8 oz.) butter
225g (8 oz.) sugar
225g (8 oz.) self-raising flour or plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder added
2 tsp vanilla extract
150 ml double cream
Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 (160oC).
Butter two eight-inch tins and line the bases with parchment paper. Flour the sides.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Add the eggs one at a time followed by a tablespoon of flour to prevent the mixture curdling.
Mix in the rest of the flour slowly until the mixture is fully combined.
Divide between the two tins.
For small cakes, bake for around 25 minutes.
For large cakes, bake for around 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in comes out cleanly and the cakes are beginning to pull away from the side of the pan.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the tine for five to ten minutes.
Take the cakes out of the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once the cakes have cooled, whip the cream to soft peaks.
Remove the parchment paper from the base of the less domed cake and place it on the serving plate. If it is very domed on top, use a bread knife to level it.
Spread the jam over the top of the cake and then pipe the cream onto that. If you don’t have a piping bag, remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the top cake, spread the cream onto that and sandwich the two halves together.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the top and serve.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe and if the sound of coffee or orange cake tickles your fancy, have a look at my Coffee & Walnut and Chocolate Orange cake recipes! If you are a fan of sweet food, check out my fool proof recipe for meringues of if you are looking for something more on the savoury side, why not make yourself some delicious salmon? Its pan-seared, crispy skin and served with a light and fresh lemon couscous.
Have a good one and I’ll be back next week with another classic batch cooked meal.