Week 9: The Final – Mary’s Victoria Sandwich
At last, a technical challenge which aligns with the promise it set out at the very start of the series, to showcase the basics of baking. And it doesn’t get much more basic than this weeks instructions:-
“Make a Victoria Sandwich using two 20cm tins, filled with raspberry jam and buttercream then dust with caster sugar”
Not many hints there then. But I have to admit that I’m looking forward to this challenge – I’ve been meaning to cook a Victoria Sandwich all year and haven’t got around to it.
The perfect Victoria Sandwich is an icon of the WI and show-winning recipes a closely guarded secret, but there are a few common hints and tips which need to be observed when striving for perfection:-
- Always use the freshest ingredients
- Weigh your ingredients, including the eggs in their shells
- Weigh the sponge batter in the tins for even layers
- Avoid wire rack marks on cooling by using a tea towel
- Raspberry jam is non-negotiable. Under no circumstances must it be sieved!
- Jam fruit should be ‘just ripe’ – overripe fruit will have lost it’s pectin so won’t set
- Always sprinkle with Caster Sugar
This apparently simple recipe is a genuine test as it presents no place to hide. Not only a challenge for bakers, its also often used as a test for new ovens
This recipe forms the basis of any good sponge cake and can be modified accordingly. Chocolate, fruit, cream, colouring, the choice is yours.
Makes 1 * 20cm Victoria Sandwich
For the Sponge
- 4 medium Eggs, weighed in their shells (225-250g)
- Weight of eggs in Caster Sugar
- Weight of eggs in Butter, softened
- Weight of eggs in Plain Flour
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
For the Jam
- 300g Fresh Raspberries
- 300g Sugar
For the Buttercream:
- 100g Butter, softened
- 200g Icing Sugar, sifted
- First make the jam by warming the sugar in the oven for 10 minutes whilst gently simmering the fruit in a pan to release some of the juices.
- Stir in the sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Boil until a setting point is reached – 105oC or test this by putting a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate to see if it skins over on cooling
- Next make the cake mix using the ‘all in one’ method. Sieve the flour and baking powder into mixing bowl and add the butter, sugar and eggs. Beat until smooth
- Line the base of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with greaseproof paper and evenly split the cake mixture between the two. Spread out into even layers
- Bake in a preheated oven, 160oC Fan, for about 25 minutes until golden brown, springs back to the touch & slightly shrunken from the edges of the tin
- Meanwhile make the buttercream by whipping the butter with half of the icing sugar. When smooth add the remaining icing sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue to whip until smooth, with no grainy texture. It should have a light texture, like whipped cream. If too stiff, add a little milk, a tablespoon at a time and whip again
- Remove from he oven to cool for a few minutes and then remove from the tins to a wire rack. Turn out onto a tea towel first to prevent rack marks on the tops
- Once completely cool place one sponge on a serving plate and spread with an even layer of jam, then neatly pipe the buttercream. Top with the second layer and sprinkle with caster sugar
- Serve with a nice cup of tea
- This isn’t a difficult recipe to do, but it is had to get absolutely perfect. Keep practising!
- One of my sponges didn’t rise evenly across the tin. I used this on the bottom and levelled off with a little more buttercream on one side
- Don’t spread the jam or pipe the buttercream right to the edge. Leave about 0.5cm to allow for oozing
- Keep any excess jam in the fridge & consume within a month
- OK, so this one won’t be winning many prizes, but it tasted great!