Shakespeare once said "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..." but does anyone out there know if he said anything about sandwiches? I am no Shakespeare, but I am here to tell you that this sandwich (aka cake) is delicious even though it has a funny name!
I am featuring recipes this week from the British culinary magazine Delicious. I discovered it on a recent trip to London and I feel like I have made a new friend! The publication is chock full of wonderful recipes, fantastic photos and all kinds of great tips for us foodie fanatics!
When I saw the picture and read a bit about the Victoria Sandwich recipe I knew that I would be trying it out in the near future. I was intrigued about why it is called a sandwich because the photo in the magazine revealed a gloriously lovely cake. Unlike many cakes here in the U.S., the Victoria Sandwich is a light, two layer sponge cake that is filled with raspberry jam and either clotted cream or whipped cream. Another thing that sets it apart from our cakes is the lack of icing or top decoration.
I did some research trying to understand why this cake has taken on the "sandwich" moniker. The story is told that this cake was named after Queen Victoria, who liked to have a slice of cake with her afternoon tea. The jam and cream are sandwiched between two layers of sponge cake; hence the name Victoria Sandwich. To learn more about the fun history behind this delightful cake check out this article. Personally, I like the idea of calling cake a sandwich because, well, it just sounds much more proper, dignified and mature to say," I"ll take a sandwich with my tea, please!" hehe!
I did do a bit of translating of this recipe. I converted the metric measurements to cups and ounces. There was also some terminology that was not familiar; the recipe called for baking the cakes in sandwich tins. I discovered that sandwich tins are specific round pans used for this type of cake. These pans are shallow and they come in pairs. I used two nine inch round cake pans. Because these are larger than the traditional sandwich tins, I doubled the recipe.
I am providing the original recipe below, with my translations in red. In the PRINTABLE RECIPE I just use the American cups and ounce measurements along with my adaptations of the recipe.
Classic Victoria Sandwich
175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
175g (3/4 cup) caster sugar (just our regular sugar)
175g (about 3 large free-range eggs); crack them into a bowl and weigh them; if they're lighter, reduce the butter, sugar and flour accordingly (I measured out 3 large eggs and it was exactly 175g)
175g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour (self-rising flour)
3 tbsp whole milk
4 tbsp raspberry jam
Caster sugar (regular granulated sugar), to sprinkle (I actually used powdered sugar because I thnk it's prettier)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4 (350 degrees Farenheit). Cut 2 x 18cm discs of baking paper. Grease 2 x 18cm sandwich tins, line the bases with the baking paper, then grease again. (I just cut parchment paper to fit my cake pans and followed the directions for greasing.)
Put the butter in a bowl with the caster (granulated) sugar and beat together until really light and fluffy.
Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition, then sift over the flour and fold in with a spatula or metal spoon to combine. Fold in enough milk to give a smooth dropping consistency. *(I have to confess - I almost never sift my flour but I did behave and sift it in this recipe!)
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins - use scales. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden, when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (don't do this to both cakes - you want a pristine example for the top). (They are quite particular about their sandwiches!)
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack that's covered in a clean cotton tea towel to prevent marking. Carefully turn over (remove the towel) and allow to cool completely.
Once cold, place the skewered half, bottom-side up, on a cake stand and spread generously with raspberry jam*. Top with the other cake, bottom down, then sprinkle with caster (granulated) sugar before serving. (I like to use powdered sugar.)
*This recipe did not include a whipped cream filling although the picture on the cover did show it with cream. Since clotted cream is not available here I substituted softened cream cheese which I combined with whipped cream and powdered sugar (see PRINTABLE RECIPE).