Let’s talk again about how I definitely shouldn’t be on The Great British Bake Off. The very first technical challenge of this show’s slightly awkward first season was to make a Victoria Sandwich Cake. This is two layers of sponge with raspberry jam in the middle. This is truly a recipe that any respectable British baker should be able to handle relatively well, so they were looking for utter perfection.
They gave them ingredients but no method. Not sure if they had measurements or not. If they did, this should have been a no brainer. Of course, I’m not an actual Bake Off contestant, so I used the actual Victoria Sandwich recipe from the companion cookbook from this season of Bake Off. It’s about as simple as you’d think. If you’re new to baking, this cake is a great place to start.
Of course, the dramatic debate in the tent is whether to use the creaming method or all-in-one. I’m team creaming all the way, which sounds gross if you’re not a baker. If you want your cake to be lighter than air, air is exactly what you need, so let your butter and sugar mix together for a good five minutes until it’s pale and fluffy.
Another fatal error I saw some people make on the show was to continually open the oven door to check if their cake was done. Step away from that door handle, friends. Every time you open that door, the oven temperature drops, and you’ll end up with a sad and sunken cake. Trust your nose. When you start to smell the cake, you’ll know it’s nearly there.
They didn’t even have to make their own jam for this first technical. In later seasons, they sometimes have to make four different components from scratch, so I’m not looking forward to that. Use your favorite jam. I went with a raspberry vanilla jam I picked up from a fancy gourmet market in Clitheroe that was made in my husband’s hometown. It was delightful. I like a little more jam than is probably traditional, but this cake doesn’t have much else going on in the flavor department, so I like to pile it on a bit.
Paul and Mary could probably find something bad to say about my cake, most like that its a bit wonky, but I’m perfectly satisfied with the way it turned out. I wish I could say I shared this with friends, but Geoff and I ate this all by ourselves. It was awesome.
Victoria Sandwich Cake
- 175 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 175 grams caster sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 175 grams self-rising flour
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 4-5 tablespoons raspberry jam
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter two 20.5 cm round cake tins, and line the base with baking parchment.
- Add butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer one medium high for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- In a bowl, lightly beat your eggs along with the vanilla. Turn your mixer down to low and gradually beat the egg mixture into the butter and sugar. Scrape down the side of the bowl, and give it one more mix to make sure everything’s evenly combined.
- Turn your mixture onto its lowest setting and gradually add in the flour, followed by the milk. Use a rubber spatula to give the batter one last mix to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Divide your mixture between the two cake tins. You can use a kitchen scale to make sure you have divided it evenly. Doesn’t have to be gram for gram, but relatively close.
- Bake your cake layers for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed. Once removed, allow the cake to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of the pan and turn your cake layers out onto a wire rack. Remove the baking parchment and allow the cake to cool completely.
- Once cooled, move one layer to its final destination and spread the raspberry jam evenly on top. Place your second layer on top, dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
Recipe slightly adapted from The Great British Book of Baking by Linda Collister