Sunday, April 22, 2012

Preparing for the Jubilee: Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

Just in time for Victoria day in May or the Queen's Royal Jubilee in June!

On recent travels through Britain I was ever impressed with the lovely cakes available in tea shops and caf├ęs. One cake I saw in most places was this simple white cake filled with jam and whipping cream (or so I thought). After a tough day of visiting with the Glasgow Boys at Kelvingrove Museum I was convinced to stop for a cup of tea and gave in to a slice of this pretty pink and white cake. It was delicious!

Later on in my travels I visited cousins in Shipley, England, I told my cousin about this lovely cake I had eaten. "What, do you mean a plain sponge cake?" She asked. I didn't think it was much of a sponge cake by Canadian standards. "Yes, you just mean an ordinary Queen Victoria Sponge Cake".  And with that, my Home-Ec Academic Queen slipped down to the kitchen and threw together a beautiful cake!

My cousins also told me that the cake itself is also known as a "4-4-4 Cake" or a "2-2-2 Cake" (not to be mixed up with a "4-2-0 Cake"--- considering the troubles my sister had getting through downtown this fine April weekend....OK, bad joke). The numbers reference the portions of butter to sugar to flour--- all the same: You could use 4 cups each of flour, sugar and butter.

The recipe I used was called a "2 egg cake" and is similar but less sugar and a bit of milk. It's from a recipe book of old-fashioned recipes I had when I was a child ("Mandie's Cookbook by Lois Gladys Leppard, likely out of print now).

2 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
pinch salt

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

1 container Devon Cream (devonshire, double, clotted--- whatever you can find that is sinfully high in fat--- mine was 48%)
Strawberry jam
Icing sugar

1. Set oven to 375 degrees F
2. Grease and flour pan (8" round pan--- I used a spring form pan)
2.  Mix dry ingredients well
3. Add butter to dry ingredients and mix to crumble
4. Beat eggs and milk in separate bowl
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just enough that all is combined
6. Bake for 20 minutes or so--- until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean

Allow to cool
Put cream in bowl and whip with wire whisk, this really won't take long as it whips much faster than our 33% whipping cream
Cut cake in half with a bread knife
Spread jam on the bottom half
Slice strawberries and place on top of jam on bottom half of cake
Add whipped devon cream to top half of cake and sandwich together
Sprinkle icing sugar on top of cake for decoration

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