What I'm cooking and eating

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Victoria Sandwich

I very seldom make sponge cakes.  My old oven wouldn't, and although my new one does quite beautifully, we have managed for over 35 years without eating sponge cake regularly, and I fail to see why we can't go on doing so, or rather, not doing so.  But when asked to contribute a cake for the ice dance club's post-RIDL buffet, I happily volunteered.

I grew up eating these sponge cakes, and have always known how to make them (although I did have to check with my mother, both about flavouring this particular cake with orange, and about how you make butter icing, although in the end I went with the recipe on the side of the packet of icing sugar, using orange juice instead of milk or cream).  They are actually very easy to make, and it was only that they would not rise in my old oven but came out flat and miserable.

I have 21 cm diameter sponge tins, so made this cake with 4 eggs.  If your sponge tins are smaller, use 3 eggs, or even 2.  My grandmother used to make just one layer, so used only one egg.

Weigh your eggs, and then accumulate the same amount of butter (or baking margarine), sugar and self-raising flour.  For 4 eggs, which is what I used, it was 240g, which meant the last 10g of baking marg got used to grease the tin. 

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (an electric mixer is the easiest thing to use for this).  Add in the eggs one at a time, and continue to whisk until they are incorporated.  Now fold in the flour, into which you have added a tiny pinch of salt.  Divide the mixture among your sponge tins, and bake in a moderately hot oven (c gas 5, or 200 C - 180 in a fan oven) until it is cooked, which will take around 25 minutes or so.  If you bake the sponge in one tin, it will take longer, of course.  When it is cooked - when a skewer or very thin knife inserted into the top comes out clean - remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

That's your basic Victoria sandwich.  Mine - pictured - was an orange cake so I added the zest of an orange to the cake mixture, and substituted orange juice for milk in the icing (according to Tate & Lyle's recipe, which was beat 75 g butter until light and fluffy, slowly incorporate 175 g icing sugar, and then as much milk or cream - or orange or lemon juice - as you need).  You can, of course, substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for 25g or so of the flour, and also for some of the icing sugar to make a chocolate cake.  Or for a delicious cake that can be used as pudding, sandwich it together with jam and whipped cream, or fresh fruit and whipped cream.... and sprinkle a little icing sugar on the top through a tea-strainer if you want to make it look "finished".

You can also use this mixture to make a hot pudding, putting jam or cooked fruit in the bottom of the dish and the cake mixture on top, then turn it out and serve hot with cream or custard.  Or both.  You can cook this in the microwave, as, indeed, you can the cake itself, but the texture is Not the Same.

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