If you’re a regular reader, it comes as no surprise that we are big fans of the English tea tradition and especially tea with sweets. This week’s focus is on a few of our favorite classic English tea cake recipes: Victoria Sandwich Cake and Battenburg Cake. We hope you’ll give them a try and share your results with us!
Victoria Sandwich Cake, or Victoria Sponge Cake, is said to have been named after Queen Victoria who favored this cake with her afternoon tea. The first known recipe was printed in an 1874 edition of Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management.
The cake is made up of two layers of sponge cake with any seedless jam or marmalade and whipped cream in the middle. When cake is sandwiched with jam only, it is called a Jam Cake.
Battenburg Cake has been reported as the wedding cake created for the 1884 marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Louis of Battenberg, a German prince. The four squares of its unique checkerboard design represent the four princes of Germany at that time.
The cake is actually quite charming. It consists of two square sections of pink sponge cake put together with two square sections of yellow sponge cake. The sections are “glued” together with apricot jam and wrapped in a layer of marzipan.
Below you’ll find links to classic English recipes and tips for these delicious cakes. We admit the recipes are extra work. However, once you’ve done it, the results are worth the effort!
– A kitchen scale will be helpful, since ingredients are often weighed out instead of measured in English recipes.
– Castor sugar is superfine sugar. You can make it by whirling granulated white sugar in your food processor to a finer consistency.
– Golden castor sugar is less refined. You can make an acceptable equivalent by whirling Turbinado, Raw or Demerara sugar in your food processor to a fine consistency. You can also substitute regular granulated white sugar as noted above.
– For Victoria Sandwich Cake, whipped cream or buttercream frosting may be used in the filling. We prefer whipped cream and seedless raspberry or apricot jam.
– A 190 C oven is about 375 degrees F, a 180 C oven is about 350 degrees F, a 170 C oven is about 325 degrees F. A 160 C oven is between 325-300 degrees F. American sponge cake recipes bake at 350 degrees F. We recommend trying both recipes at 350 F the first time, but keep a close eye on it as actual oven temperatures vary.
– A Battenburg Cake Pan is helpful when making this cake. They appear to be available only from England. See an Amazon UK listing for this product by clicking on the above highlighted link.
Victoria Sandwich Cake Recipe:
Battenburg Cake Recipe:
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