The All-in-one – Victoria Sandwich

Have you ever wondered why it’s called a ‘Victoria Sandwich’? Apparently, it’s named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of this sponge cake with her afternoon tea.  As for the sandwich bit – well I guess that part’s pretty obvious!

Now that my family have finally accepted that baked goods are to be a permanent feature in their lives – they’ve started to get quite demanding.  Any dinner parties that take place are now required to have one of my cakes as dessert – regardless of whether I am attending or not.

In the same way, I am now expected to bring dessert to any dinner parties I am invited to.  I’ve argued that, as it is someone else’s dinner party, surely they should get a chance to bake but – apparently – this form of logic is completely lost on them. And as there is absolutely no argument that I can ever win with my family, I tend to go with the flow (it also gives me an excuse to get some baking done for the blog so I shouldn’t complain!)

This particular time I was baking a cake to take to a dinner party. I actually wasn’t asked to bake until a few hours before we had to leave so I panicked and went for the trusty Victoria Sandwich. The ‘large’ and ‘all-in-one’ parts of the title bode well so I went with it.

 Once again Mary Berry went for the ‘throw it all together’ method of baking but I didn’t follow the exact instructions and went for something different.  I whisked together the butter and sugar (as always) and then added the eggs.  Instead of whisking in the flour and baking powder, I decided to go old-school and fold it in.  Why? I have no idea – maybe with a 2 hour time limit (which included getting myself ready) I decided I had way too much time on my hands. I don’t know.

Once the batter was ready, I split it between the two cake tins, attempted to make it even, gave up and put it in the oven for 25 minutes. They came out golden, even and springy to the touch – perfect! If only all my cakes would come out this way.

After a few minutes cooling time, I took them out of the cake tins and peeled off the baking parchment.  I kept the nicest looking cake the right way round but turned the other one (which was also nice – just not as flat on the top) upside down.  This would become the bottom layer so I figured this technique would make it as flat as possible.

Once cooled. I spread strawberry jam on the top of the flattened cake before placing (i.e. accidentally dropping) the second layer on top.  Thankfully it didn’t break! Just before leaving I sprinkled caster sugar on top – et voila!

I had packed the Victoria Sandwich into my trusty cake tin and got in the car ready to leave.  Somehow (and I blame this completely on my father’s driving skills), between us leaving the house and getting to the dinner party, the top layer of the cake slid half off the bottom … AARGH!

OK, so it was fixed really easily (I, quite literally, slid it back into place and cleaned off the excess jam) but it’s one of those things that only ever manage to happen to me.

Thankfully there were no other mishaps and the cake went down a treat – two guests even tried to ‘judge’ it in the same way as Paul Hollywood and Marry Berry from The Great British Bake Off – thankfully that feedback was positive (although they did say ‘no soggy bottoms’ which I believe refers to pastry and not sponge cake!).

There’s not much to say for the taste of this cake, everyone knows what a good Victoria Sandwich should taste like – and this is definitely a recipe that will create that perfect sponge!

An Interesting Sandwich…

I generally don’t like anything with coconut in it and have therefore avoided the coconut jam sandwich bars recipe for a while.  My brother and dad love it however, so I finally gave in and gave it a go for this week’s bake.

The bottom layer of the ‘sandwich’ is made up of butter, flour and baking powder, which is then mixed with the sugar, egg yolks, and water.  This is squished into the baking tray to cook for 15minutes.  I left the bottom layer cool while the preparing the top layer of the ‘sandwich’.

The desiccated coconut, an egg yolk and some water went into a pot and was cooked over the stove for 3 minutes before the flour was added and cooked for a further minute.  The coconut smell comes out quite a lot when cooking, which I didn’t appreciate but I carried on nevertheless. While this cooled, the rest of the egg whites were whipped until stiff, or at least until my hand felt like it was falling off! This was finally folded into the desiccated coconut mixture.

The best part of the process was sandwiching everything together.  When spreading the jam over the base, I did have use 2 teaspoons more than the recipe recommended in order to cover it all.  The coconut topping went on top of this, which was actually quite difficult to spread without mixing the layers. I finally managed to get the coconut evenly spread and put the sandwich into the oven for 35 minutes.

Once cooled, the coconut jam sandwiches got cut up and tasted.  I wasn’t very excited about tasting it and waited till the next day to have a tiny piece.  Generally, it was nice but the coconut flavour was still too much for me.  Everyone else absolutely loved it though; I think those who don’t have an opinion on coconut would also really enjoy and would still suggest trying it.  I wouldn’t suggest making the recipe for people who, like me, have a similar ‘hatred’ for coconut.