THE two-layer jam-filled Victoria Sandwich is a classic British cake that often steals the show when presented on a cake stand alongside other desserts.
Its simplicity in taste and no-frills design compared to the more elaborate cakes available today, makes it rather sought after with it being a flavour of yesteryear.
Interestingly, Victoria Sandwich is among the recipes found in the home science syllabus for secondary schools.
It does not take much to figure out when the Victoria Sandwich came into being as the clue to its origins is in its name.
There are many books and articles on this cake and the height of its popularity was during the reign of Queen Victoria in 19th century England.
It is said to have been a favourite of Queen Victoria who enjoyed a slice with traditional afternoon tea.
Using the creaming method, the cake requires basic ingredients of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla in rustling up this delectable flavour.
Even its measurements are stress-free as it calls for equal parts of butter, sugar and flour, and four eggs. How easy is that?
Beat the batter until thick and fluffy before dividing it into two baking trays as two cakes are needed for the sandwich.
While some recipes call for the use of jam and buttercream or whipped cream, there are also recipes where only the fruit preserve is used.
I find that the tartness of raspberry jam works really well with butter cake but strawberry jam is not a bad alternative.
While one can resort to store-bought jam to sandwich the cakes, those with extra strawberries can toss them with some sugar and lemon juice to cook your own preserve.
The fuss-free process to making a Victoria Sandwich and that no frosting is required are among reasons why I do not mind baking it at the drop of a hat.
Dust with icing sugar and add some fruits to present a tempting treat.
Victoria SandwichStrawberry jam
500g ripe strawberries
1/2 apple (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
Method Wash strawberries and cut them into pieces. Remove hull and top.
Add sugar and set aside for one hour to allow fruits to macerate.
Grate or chop the apple until fine.
Place an empty saucer in the freezer.
Pour the macerated strawberries and add grated apple into a heavy pot.
Place the pot on the fire, and add lemon juice.
Let the fruits come to a boil and keep stirring the mixture.
It has to thicken significantly.
There is a tendency for the jam to burn if left unattended so keep a close eye on the mixture.
As it boils, you will notice foam on the sides. Use a spoon to remove the foam, where possible.
As it thickens, a beautiful deep red shade and glossiness is apparent.
Do a consistency test by placing some jam on the cold plate.
Return the plate to the freezer for two minutes.
Remove after two minutes to check if the jam has jellified by running your finger through the jam.
If it has, your jam is ready.
Butter cake250g butter
250g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar for dustingMethodPlace the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs, one by one, to the mixing bowl until they combine to form a light and fluffy mixture.
Then, add sifted flour and baking powder before adding vanilla extract.
Divide the cake batter into two baking tins and place into a preheated oven of 180ºC or 200ºC (temperature varies depending on the oven). Bake for 35 minutes.
Use a skewer to test if the cake is baked.
Once the cakes are taken out of the oven, remove from the tins and set to cool on a wire rack.
Spread the jam evenly on one of the cakes, which will act as the bottom tier, before placing the second cake to create a sandwich.
To complete the presentation, dust icing sugar over the cake.