If you are a fan of cakes, you might have heard of the Victoria Sandwich Cake, one of the most beloved desserts in the United Kingdom. This cake, also known as Victoria sponge or Victoria sandwich, has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. In this article, we will explore the origins and evolution of this classic cake, and learn how to make it.
1. The Origin Story of Victoria Sandwich Cake
The Victoria Sandwich Cake is believed to have been created in the early 19th century, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). It is said that the queen herself enjoyed this cake with her afternoon tea. However, the exact origin of the cake is unclear, and there are different theories about its creation.
2. The Name of the Cake
The cake is named after Queen Victoria, who was known for her love of cakes and desserts. It is said that the queen was fond of a simple sponge cake, which became known as the Victoria sponge or Victoria sandwich.
3. The First Victoria Sandwich Recipe
The first known recipe for Victoria Sandwich Cake appeared in an English cookbook called “The Modern Cook” by Eliza Acton in 1845. The recipe was very similar to the one we use today, consisting of two layers of sponge cake filled with jam and whipped cream.
4. The Evolution of Victoria Sandwich Cake
Over the years, the recipe for Victoria Sandwich Cake has evolved, with bakers experimenting with different variations and additions. Some bakers added lemon zest or vanilla extract to the cake batter, while others used different types of jam or fruit fillings. In some regions of the UK, the cake is also known as a cream cake, because it is filled with whipped cream instead of buttercream.
5. The Ingredients of Victoria Sandwich Cake
The classic Victoria Sandwich Cake recipe consists of simple ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. You will need:
- 200g of caster sugar
- 200g of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 200g of self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 2 tbsp of milk
6. The Baking Process of Victoria Sandwich Cake
To make Victoria Sandwich Cake, you will need to follow a few simple steps:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, and mix until well combined.
- Add the milk and mix until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and smooth the surface with a spatula.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. The Classic Filling for Victoria Sandwich Cake
The classic filling for Victoria Sandwich Cake is strawberry jam and whipped cream. To assemble the cake, simply spread a generous layer of jam over one cake layer, then top it with a thick layer of whipped cream. Place the second cake layer on top and dust with icing sugar.
8. Variations of Victoria Sandwich Cake
Although the classic recipe for Victoria Sandwich Cake is delicious, there are many variations that you can try. Here are some ideas:
- Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake: add the zest of a lemon to the cake batter and fill the cake with lemon curd and whipped cream.
- Chocolate Victoria Sandwich Cake: replace 50g of the flour with cocoa powder to make a chocolate sponge. Fill the cake with chocolate ganache and whipped cream.
- Fruit-filled Victoria Sandwich Cake: use fresh fruit instead of jam to fill the cake. Try sliced strawberries, raspberries, or peaches.
- Nutella Victoria Sandwich Cake: spread a thick layer of Nutella over one cake layer, then top it with whipped cream and the second cake layer.
9. The Popularity of Victoria Sandwich Cake
Victoria Sandwich Cake has been a popular dessert in the UK for over 150 years. It is a staple of afternoon tea, and is often served at celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. The cake is also a favourite of the Great British Bake Off, a popular baking competition show.
10. How to Serve Victoria Sandwich Cake
Victoria Sandwich Cake is best served with a cup of tea or coffee. It can also be served as a dessert, accompanied by fresh fruit or ice cream. To make it extra special, you can dust the cake with icing sugar or decorate it with fresh flowers.
11. Victoria Sandwich Cake Around the World
Although Victoria Sandwich Cake is most popular in the UK, it has gained popularity in other countries too. In Australia and New Zealand, the cake is known as a sponge cake, and is often filled with passionfruit or kiwi fruit. In the United States, the cake is sometimes called a jelly roll, and is filled with jelly or jam.
12. Tips for Making the Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake
- Use room temperature butter and eggs for best results.
- Sift the flour and baking powder to ensure a light and fluffy sponge.
- Don’t overmix the batter, or the cake will be tough.
- Make sure the cake layers are completely cool before filling and decorating.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the cake layers in half for a neater finish.
The cake is said to have been named after Queen Victoria, who was known for her love of cake.
The basic ingredients are flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla extract.
Yes, you can use any flavor of jam that you like.
Yes, you can make the cake in advance and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.
The Victoria Sandwich Cake is a classic British cake that has stood the test of time. Its simple ingredients and easy preparation make it a go-to cake for any occasion. Whether you enjoy it with a cup of tea or as a dessert after dinner, the Victoria Sandwich Cake is sure to satisfy.