Easy Victoria Sandwich Cake
History Behind the Cake
The Victoria Sandwich is a staple of British baking - almost every family has their own unique recipe for them, passed down from grandparents to parents to children, some dating back generations! The cake is said to be called the Victoria Sandwich because Queen Victoria particularly enjoyed it, and it was during her rein that one of her ladies-in-waiting invented the afternoon meal of 'tea-time'.
This recipe dates back to my granny, who I think developed or acquired the recipe during the second world war when supplies were short. It's designed to work well with margarine, a common butter substitute during the war, but it is especially rich and delicious with real butter in it. Where other recipes may be complicated and result in a heavy sponge, this cake will always be light, consistent, and most importantly delicious!
This recipe yields a six-ounce mixture, but is easily scalable (see table below)
- 3 Eggs
- 6oz Flour
- 6oz Sugar
- 6oz Butter, (or margarine, or olive spread)
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract, (optional)
- 2 tbsp Jam, (strawberry, plum, apricot)
- 2 tbsp Double Cream, Whipped until stiff
- Grease two eight-inch round baking tins and line with baking parchment.
- Add the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to a bowl. Measure in vanilla extract (if using).
- Whisk the mixture with a hand-held electric whisk until completely smooth.
- Measure the mixture equally into the two tins. Give each tin a light tap on your work surface to pop any large air bubbles and smooth the surface.
- Bake at 180 degrees C (160 degrees fan oven, 356 Fahrenheit, gas mark 4) for twenty minutes, or until the edges of the mixture have come away from the tin. The surface of the cake should spring back when pressed lightly, or a thin skewer when inserted should come out clean.
- Turn out after ten minutes onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Whip the double cream until stiff with an electric hand-whisk. Spread the jam onto the bottom tier of the cake, followed by the cream (you may wish to use a palette knife for this). Sandwich together the tiers of the cake.
Scaling the Recipe
This recipe may be scaled up or down, depending on how many people you need to serve or how many layers you would like to the cake.
Use 6 inch tins for anything less than a 6oz mixture, and a 1lb mixture will comfortably cover three 8 inch tins.
The golden rule is that the weight of each of your other ingredients should be double the number of eggs, so in this recipe we use 3 eggs so each of the other ingredients weighs 6oz.
Scaling the Recipe: Table
Eggs (number of)
Weight of Other Ingredients
Size of Mixture
There are plenty of variations on this recipe, a few of which are listed below:
- Nutella cake: replace vanilla extract with 1tsp cinnamon and sandwich together with Nutella spread
- Different jams: try marmalade, different fruit jams, or even lemon curd
- Orange cake: add zest of one orange to mix. When cake has cooled sandwich together with marmalade and drizzle with icing made from icing sugar and juice of one orange
- Cover with royal icing and decorate for an easy-to-make child's birthday cake (or adult's birthday cake for that matter!)
- Lemon cake: add zest of one lemon to mix. When cake has cooled sandwich together with lemon curd and drizzle with an icing made from icing sugar and juice of one lemon
This recipe also makes a perfect cupcake mix - instead of measuring out into cake tins, use a teaspoon to measure out into cupcake cases (you'll need about 12 standard sized cases for a 6oz mixture). Bake for a shorter time (10-15 minutes) until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the cupcakes are browned.
You can even add fun ingredients to your cupcakes, including:
- Chocolate chips
- Lemon zest and poppy seeds
- Orange zest and sunflower seeds
- Cinnamon or All Spice
- Vanilla, rose, or any other extract
These cupcakes make an ideal recipe for kids to try as the recipe itself requires very little skill, but remember to always supervise children around a hot oven or electric hand-whisk.
You can decorate your cupcakes with a basic icing made from icing sugar and a drop of water (experiment until you find the consistency you want), then you can top them off with fun things that kids will love, including:
- Jelly tots
- Candied fruit