A Victoria Sandwich cake is cake at its best: simple good flavours and easy to make.
A Victoria Sandwich isn’t a particularly fashionable cake and it certainly isn’t elaborate. In fact, it’s quite a plain cake, jazzed up with jam and/or buttercream. There are many ‘definitive’ versions, so it’s a case of ‘you pays your money and takes your choice’. Now I’ve joined the WI, I thought I’d take a look at what they say and see how my preferences differ. Suffice to say I probably won’t be winning a prize for mine.
Options for a Victoria Sandwich Cake
- What size eggs? Well, that is a whole topic in its own right. I use large eggs for baking and the rule of thumb for a Victoria Sandwich is to weigh the eggs in their shells and use the same weight of butter, sugar and self-raising flour
- Vanilla extract or not? I do because I like vanilla, but only a little in this cake. In this, I do depart from family tradition (and the WI recipe)
- Butter or margarine. Put it like this, one is a natural, whole food that you can make yourself (although after the age of 6 you probably haven’t), the other is a concoction of chemicals and fats that may or may not be good for you
Fillings and toppings
- Caster sugar or icing sugar on top? My mother always used icing sugar, so that’s what I do, but if you prefer some crunch, use caster sugar (the WI preferred option).
- What flavour jam? Some say raspberry (the WI), but growing up we always had strawberry, because that’s what Mum made
- Buttercream filling or not? For me, this is totally dependent on time and occasion. For tea at home, it’s mostly just jam. If anyone’s coming – and I have a few extra minutes – buttercream makes this a bit more special
Deep or shallow tins?
Do you make it one deep one or two shallow ones? I prefer 2 shallow tins because the cakes cook more quickly and more evenly. To be honest with a small cake like this it doesn’t make much difference but, once you’re making a 20cm cake, the centre might be underdone or the edges overdone so I almost always use 2 tins for that.
I suspect that, like most people, my choices are mostly made because of what I’m used to and, of course, what I like. So to anyone who thinks their version is better, you’re probably right – for you it is, but I think mine is the tops. Having said that, I do vary my jam choices a bit. Currently, I’m loving lemon curd with cherry jam.
If you like this…
…Why don’t you try:
For a 15cm (6 inch) cake:
- 2 large eggs – weighed
The same weight (approx. 150g) of:
- Caster sugar
- Self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5ml)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (2.5ml)
- large pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/ gas mark 5/ 375°F
- Line the tins with a paper liner. Grease the tins (if they need it) with butter paper (or a little butter on kitchen paper)
For the cake:
- Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly(Butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract)
- Evenly divide the mixture between the tins. Smooth the top with a palette knife and make a slight dip in the centre
- Cook for 20-25 minutes until the cake surface springs back when you touch it lightly with your fingertip
- Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack. Leave the paper in place if you don’t intend to fill the cake immediately
- Once the cake is cool, fill with jam or buttercream and sprinkle icing sugar on top.
- Use a splatter guard over your mixing bowl to keep mess to a minimum
- The cakes keep well for up to a week in an airtight box – preferably in the fridge.
- The un-iced cakes can be frozen for up to a month