We were celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. High above Vancouver the roof top garden of our London born friends, Jackie and Allen, red-white-and-blue buntings fluttered in the breeze. Tiny Union Jack flags stood at attention. Tiaras glittered in the sunlight. A top hat was tipped. We all had dressed for the occasion. For dessert I made an old fashioned Victoria Sandwich Cake.
Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance soared through the air. We sang out loud and clear;
Land of Hope and glory,
Mother of the free,
how shall we extol thee
who are born of thee?
A group of us, ex-pats and those with links to Great Britain watched as a flotilla of boats paid homage to the Queen. We toasted the monarch with champagne and nibbled cucumber sandwiches. The barbecue roared into action and fat bangers (sausages to you non-Brits) sizzled on the grill. The meal ended with my contribution to the celebration , a glorious old-fashioned British dessert, Victoria Sandwich Cake.
This recipe is so easy to make one would almost call it nursery food. You can whip it up in a few minutes. There’s just a few ingredients, and other than whipping cream you will have these in your baking pantry. The cake is almost full proof and the cake is a fine crumb that holds together well. Since this recipe is from an old British cookbook of mine I’ll give their measurements, and those we are accustomed to.
This recipe is for two layer cakes baked in 7 inch tins. As this size is not easy to find you can use 8 inch tins. Since this made the layers a little thinner, and I wanted to make the big gesture, I baked the cake twice. (Yes, I could have doubled the recipe but I only had two pans)
VICTORIA SANDWICH CAKE
4 oz. (1 cup) self-raising flour (or l cup all purpose flour mixed with 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder)
dash of salt
4 oz. (1/2 cup) mixture margarine and butter, all butter or all margarine, or other combination at room temperature
4 oz. (1/2 cup) castor (granulated) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence(extract)
2 large eggs at room temperature.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F, ( Gas Mark 4).
Brush your cake pans with butter . Line bases with a round of parchment paper and rub with butter.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
Whip your butter in a stand mixer bowl until light and fluffy the add the sugar and vanilla and beat well.
Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the sifted dry ingredients with each egg.
Now gently fold in the remaining flour with a large spatula.
Divide the mixture equally between the pans. Spread evenly then tap the pans gently to disperse any air bubbles.
Bake the cakes in the centre of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Watch your cakes they have a tendency to bake on the quick side (depending on your oven).
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKES
A lavish amount of your favorite jam. I used strawberry jam I made last summer.
Whipping cream (for 2 layers l cup, for 4 layers 2 cups)
1 to 2 generous tablespoons confectioners (icing) sugar.
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
On high speed in your stand mixer whip the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and the vanilla and continue whipping until the cream holds stiff peaks. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
Spread jam generously over the top of three of the cakes. Put four squares of wax paper on your cake dish. This keeps the dish clean while you are assembling it. When the cake is completed gently tug each square of paper out from under the cake.
Put the first cake layer on the plate.
Spread whipped cream over the jam and put the layers together.
You can simply spread whipped cream on the top, or using a decorative pastry nozzle and bag do some fancy scrolls. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. In keeping with the occasion I surrounded the cake with tiny red roses.
You can do a lot of different things with this simple cake recipe.
1. Fill with a simple butter cream and your favorite jam.
2. Add l oz. (1/4 cup) finely chopped walnuts after beating in the eggs the put together with coffee flavoured whipping cream.
3. Omit the vanilla and replace with 2 level teaspoons finely grated orange or lemon peel. Sandwich together with lemon curd and dust with sifted icing (confectioner’s) sugar.
4. Double the recipe and spread the mixture into a greased and paper-lined jelly roll pan. Bake in a 350°F for about 20-25 minutes. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack. Finish with your favorite butter cream icing.