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Gill's BakeOff - Baking a Victoria Sandwich - recipe with photos

How to bake a perfect Victoria Sandwich cake!

By Gill Hepburn, our Baking Blogger

Hi, I'm Gill.

Welcome to the first of, hopefully many, baking pages on the new Lymington.com website.

I'm not a professional cook or anything like that! However, I am passionate about baking and making cakes, and I'd like to share with you some recipes of my favourite bakes as well as some tips.

Do you ever stand in your kitchen and not know what to make? This happens to me a lot! I may be baking a cake to visit friends with, or making a cake for a forthcoming cake club gathering - which I run regularly.

It's not until I start weighing my eggs (I'll come to the recipe later) that I really decide what I’m going to make!

Do you ever think... What would happen if I try this instead of this? Shall I do this? I do that a lot too!

I very much like diverting from the original recipe. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't!

Yes, I've had my disasters, like a light coffee & walnut cake which I recently made (twice!) for cake club, before reverting back to my foolproof method using the recipe below and tweaking it!

The recipe I'm going to share with you is my mum's Victoria sandwich cake, which she taught me when I was growing up. I still use this recipe now, however I now make cakes using slightly different ingredients. Hopefully, over the next few months I’ll be able to show you some of these variations.

When I was little we used to mix the ingredients by hand, however these days I use an electric hand-whisk, which does the work for me - you can buy these quite cheaply. Alternatively, if you prefer (but by no means essential), you could use the ever popular high-tech equipment (food processor or kitchen-aid).

Preparation

Now before I divulge the recipe, there are a few things you need to know! The preparation is important!

~ Use two 8 inch (20cm) round sponge tins (they don’t have to be loose-bottomed, if they are that’s ok).
~ Cut out circles of greaseproof paper to fit in the bottom of the tins.
~ grease around the sides of the tin. See Figure 1
Now turn on electric oven to 170ºc / fan 150ºc.

Victoria Sandwich Tins Prepared

Ingredients

For Mums Basic Vanilla Sandwich Cake recipe, you will need:
Self raising flour
Unsalted softened butter
Caster sugar
3 Medium sized Eggs
Vanilla essence/ paste
Milk

Method

Weigh the eggs (in their shells) - this is very important as the following ingredients are used at the same weight:
Butter
Caster sugar
Flour

I.E., the eggs weigh at 6.1 oz (174g) - now put these to the side.

Now weigh out 6.1 oz (174g) of softened butter and mix until smooth. Now add 6.1 oz (174g) of caster sugar and whisk together until the mixture is light and fluffy!

Break the eggs adding to the creamed mixture at the same time as 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence/ paste and 1 tablespoon of flour (this will stop any curdling) and mix until just combined.

Now add in 6.1 oz (174g) self raising flour as well as 2 tablespoons of milk. Be careful when mixing in the flour - I always lightly fold it in first and then finish off using the mixer. Tip: Do ensure the mixture at the bottom of the bowl has been mixed in well.

Now you’ll be pleased you have prepared your tins! You need to spoon the mixture equally into the 2 tins, making sure the middle of the mixture is slightly lower than around the outside. Tip: this is how to get a level cake! See Figure 2

victoria sandwich mix in tin

Now pop in the oven and look after 20 minutes - can you gently press the top of the cake and it springs back? If not, give it another 5 or 10 minutes. It should also have a nice light colour on the top! See Figure 3

 

 

Once out of the oven, lightly run a knife around the outside of the cake – this will help loosen for when you take out of the tins later. Once cooled, gently remove from the tins allowing to cool on a wire rack. Now its time to make the butter icing! You will need:

Icing Ingredients

Softened Unsalted Butter
Icing Sugar
Vanilla Essence/ Paste
Milk
Strawberry/ Raspberry jam (Blackberry/ Blackcurrant Jam can also be used)
Tip: seedless is best

Tip: As an alternative, you may decide to ice your cake with whipped double/ whipped whipping cream and fruit (i.e. strawberries or raspberries are best!). This makes a lovely light dessert or summer 'afternoon tea' cake!
Tip: Add a little icing sugar to the cream when whipping, especially if a hot day, as it will hold the cream better.

How to make butter icing

Add 1½ oz of butter to a mixing bowl and mix until its slightly lighter in colour. Now add 3 oz of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Be careful when mixing, as the sugar will cover your work surface! (I mix in with a spoon to begin with). Then whisk it up – it will be a little lumpy to begin with, however persevere and it will become good. Taste to test – what’s the consistency like? Does it need a little more icing sugar and milk?

I would continue as it is possibly not quite right yet! Add 2 oz of icing sugar and ½ tablespoon of milk (more if you need it), and again be careful when mixing up. Now test and you should be ready to ice your cake.

Decide upon which cake will be at the bottom. Turn the cake so the top (when you brought out of the oven) is on the plate – this will give you a flat ‘ish surface to add your jam to which you need to spread over the cake (I find this is best done with a fork). See Figure 4 which shows the jam mustn’t come all the way to the edge – leave a little gap all the way round! (This will stop the jam and cream oozing out).

See Figure 5 for how the icing is spread on exactly like the jam, using a small palette knife and not too close to the edge.
Tip: if you have butter icing left over, pop in an airtight plastic container and into the fridge for up to a month. Tip: Bring out well before wishing to use, otherwise its not soft enough. It can be mixed with a fresh batch of butter icing.

Now sandwich together the jam and cream tiers – see Figure 6. For ease, sprinkle the top tier with sieved icing sugar – see Figure 7. Tip: An alternative to this is sprinkling with caster sugar, or icing (I'll show you this another time).

Figure 8 shows the cake presented on a simple cake stand. Right, I’m off to eat the slice of cake with a nice cup of earl grey tea!

To come: Gluten & Wheat Free Cakes

Next time, I will talk about making Gluten & Wheat Free cakes as well as showing you a different variation on the above basic recipe and if there's space about simple icing the top tier.

Happy Baking!
Gill Hepburn

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