The Victoria Sandwich is the quintessential English cake, conjuring up images of old England and afternoon tea. It's always been a favourite in cake baking competitions and is even used by manufacturers to test new cookers.This is one of the recipes that I use when I make my Victoria Sandwich sponge cake - the other method is posted at the end of the recipe; the ingredients are the same but the weight ratio is slightly different. This method is the original and more traditional way of weighing your ingredients, bearing in mind that the recipe is Victorian! A true Victoria Sandwich would only contain jam, usually raspberry, but as the cake became more popular and cooks became more affluent, cream was added as a delicious addition. I was always taught that caster sugar was sprinkled on top - again, icing sugar is often used nowadays. This recipe adaptation was taken from the WI website, a wonderful organisation in Great Britain for woman of all ages, backgrounds, race or creed - remember The Calendar Girls? They were all WI members! Historical note: Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, is credited as the creator of tea time. She invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms. The menu centred around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea.The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses. Queen Victoria adopted the new craze for afternoon tea time. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies were in formal dress for the Victorian tea time parties. This simple cake was one of the queen's favourites and was named in honour of the Queen as a mark of the cake's most devoted followers! (I used home made lemon curd for the cake in my photos, a tangy change from raspberry jam!)
- The measurements for this recipe are equal amounts of sugar, flour and fat to the weight of the eggs; Recipezaar will not allow me to post that as a measurement. Therefore, weigh the eggs first - if the eggs weigh 8 ounces, you will use 8 ounces of sugar, 8 ounces of butter or margarine and 8 ounces of flour. If the eggs weigh 6 ounces, all the other ingredients will be 6 ounces - easy!
- Set oven Gas 4 160C (fan oven), 180C or 360F: grease and base line the bottom of 2 x 8” sandwich tins - cake tins.
- Cream margarine or butter together with the sugar, until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs, and then add them to the mixture, gradually and beating well after each addition.
- Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture with a metal spoon.
- Divide equally between the 2 prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes in the middle of the oven.
- Remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the tins and fill with raspberry jam (and cream if using) when cold, to avoid the cream melting or the jam seeping into the sponge.
- A light dusting of caster sugar or icing sugar on the top will finish it.
- Place on an attractive cake stand or plate, and serve in dainty wedges with freshly brewed tea.
- Cook's Notes.
- If you use butter remove from the fridge to soften before using. This is not necessary with soft margarine.
- If large eggs are used they may weigh 7 ½ ozs/210g. If so make sure you use this weight for the other ingredients.
- A smaller sandwich cake can be made with 2 medium eggs. Weight about 4 oz/55g. If so, use 2 x 7” sandwich tins and the cakes and the cakes will need less time in the oven – probably 20mins.
- Alternative measurements:.
- 3 eggs.
- 6 ounces soft margarine or butter.
- 6 ounces caster sugar.
- 6 ounces SR flour.
- Proceed as above for method.
While the recipe looks good self rising flour is not generally available in North America. Certainly where I am in Canada it isn't. It would be helpful to include a conversion for it; how much baking powder or baking soda and salt to add?
This is not the first Victoria Sandwich I've ever made,but it certainly is the absolute best one I've ever had! It rose beautifully and was light and airy. I filled it with raspberry jam and fresh whipped cream. Thanks FT. BTW, the tip about weighing the eggs etc, is great, and one I will remember.
Victoria Sponges are notoriously tricky in my family, with the old adage that "Granny used to make brilliant ones". I realise now it must be the adherence to strict measurements that was causing problems - doing it proportionally makes a brilliant, light and very buttery cake. This set of instructions is going to be my standard sponge from now on.