This is a classic and if anyone is new to baking and wants to start at ‘the beginning’, then I would say this is it.
The ’all-in-one’ method I’ve demonstrated here is very straight forward and you are sure of success if you follow the hints and tips that I’ve suggested below. There are endless debates as to which method is better: the ‘all-in-one’ method where you put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and beat it, or you cream the butter or margarine with the sugar first, then add the eggs very slowly, and then the dry ingredients. If you are short on time as I was today, the ‘all-in-one’ works for me.
There is also the debate as to whether margarine or butter is better. For me, the jury is still out. I would need to have a complete blind tasting before I could really say. I’ve used margarine here for no particular reason.
The Victoria Sandwich is very versatile when thinking about the end product you want to achieve. The classic way to serve it is very simply with strawberry jam in the middle and dusted icing sugar on the top. I’ve used whipped cream and strawberries here. Also, as I had some homemade lemon curd leftover in the fridge that need using up, I added that to the whipped cream which gave it a nice ‘zing’ in the final flavour.
The recipe is simply that of the old pound cake using equal quantities of eggs, butter, sugar and flour. The eggs are weighed in their shells and then simply the same quantity each of butter, sugar and self-raising flour is added. If you wanted to make a larger cake, simply increase the number of eggs and then follow the same principle of using equal quantities of the remaining ingredients. Easy!
Before you start, here are some hints and tips to follow:
Your margarine or butter must be soft before you start. If it isn’t you’ll have lumps of fat in the mixture that haven’t been full combined with everything else and it’ll result in an uneven bake.
Your eggs must be at room temperature; the mixture will combine better if all the ingredients are at the same temperature and it will result in a better bake.
If you use a different sized tin than given in this recipe, you will need to adjust the baking time depending on whether your tin is larger or smaller (shorter time if the tin is larger, longer if the tin is smaller)
Grease your tin well and line the bottom with baking parchment otherwise you might have difficulty getting the cake out of the tin
Ingredients and method
Prepare two baking tins 18cm in diameter. Grease well and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Heat the oven to 175C
Weigh 3 large eggs (in the shells)– I recommend you weigh on digital scales for accurate results. Make a note of the weight in grams (mine weighed 193g)
Pour these into a mixing bowl.
Then add to the bowl, equal quantities for each of the following:
Self-raising flour (193g in my case)
Caster sugar (193g in my case)
Margarine or butter, softened (193g in my case)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Beat the mixture until it’s well combined and no lumps of margarine or butter are evident. This should only take about 5-10 mins depending on how soft your margarine or butter is and if you are using a free standing mixer or not. A free-standing mixer would need no more than 5 mins. Don’t be tempted to mix it any longer than this because it will result in a heavy and ‘tough’ cake due to the gluten in the flour being worked too much. You are aiming for a light, moist cake.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and smooth the mixture with the back of spoon or spatula.
I weigh the tins so that I can be sure of there are equal quantities in each tin to ensure the same depth of each cake.
Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in their tin for 10 mins and then carefully turn out the cakes onto the rack to cool completely removing the baking parchment.
When the cakes are completely cold, make up the cake as you wish, either with icing or jam, cream and fruit. I am using cream and some lemon curd with fresh strawberries here.