Cakes, Bakes, Breakfasts and Dinners and all the bits in between.
I spend the week running in heels and the weekends in my apron.
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Classic Victoria Sponge Cake
I saw this recipe on Red Magazine's website this and it reminded me of how much I love a slice of Victoria Sponge cake. This is probably one of the most basic cakes around but in my opinion still one of the best. I've been trying to find out who actually invented the Victoria (n) Sponge cake but there's not much detailed info around. I realise it is named in honour of Queen Victoria but I wanted a bit more background on it. It was ironically an American website, whatscookingamerica.net, which gave me the most information.
According to them, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who was one of Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting, is credited as the creator of teatime. Because the lunchtime meal had become smaller, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess asked her servants to bring her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs into her dressing room.
Adopting the European tea service format, she started to invite her friends for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle during her summer stay. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and tea was served as the accompanying beverage. The Duchess continued her tea parties when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for tea and a walk in the fields. The practice of inviting friends to come for afternoon tea was quickly copied by other social hostesses.
Queen Victoria was one such adopters of the tea party idea. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies dressed formally for afternoon tea. This simple cake was apparently one of the Queen's favourites. After her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, Queen Victoria spent time in retreat at Osborn House, her residence on the Isle of Wight. According to historians, it was here that the cakes were named after her.
110g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
110g self-raising flour, sifted twice
3 tbsp good-quality raspberry jam
150ml double cream
Granulated or icing sugar for dusting
2 x 18cm/7in tins, preferably loose bottomed
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Grease the sides and base of the tins with butter and line the base with baking paper cut to fit, then dust the sides of the tin with flour.
2. Cream the sugar and butter together with a wooden spoon or electric mixer, until soft and fluffy. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, until the mixture is smooth. Don’t worry if it curdles a little.
3. Sift the flour over the mixture, adding about a third at a time and folding it in with a large metal spoon, until smooth. Distribute the mixture equally between the two tins and spread as evenly as possible.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden, and just beginning to shrink a little from the sides of the tin. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn out and remove the paper. Place on a wire rack, top side up, to cool completely.
5. Spread the jam on the top side of one of the cakes, right to the edge. Whip the cream, until just holding a shape and spread on top of the jam. Put the other cake on top and dust liberally with granulated sugar or icing sugar.