Victoria Sponge Cake, The most famous British Dessert
By Ximena Arce |
In your next trip to England, taste a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake and discover why it was Queen Victoria’s favorite teatime treat.
THE BEST BRITISH CAKE
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a table at teatime is not complete without a delicious Victoria Sponge Cake as its centerpiece. In this article, we propose you to travel to England to taste a slice of this English culinary delight.
HISTORY OF THE VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE
The Victoria Sponge Cake is probably England´s all-time favorite cake. It consists of two round layers of sponge cake sandwiched together with raspberry jam and dusted on the top with caster sugar. As you probably imagine, this English baking classic was named after Queen Victoria, whose 63-year reign is the longest of any female monarch in history. In 1861, Queen Victoria suffered the death of her husband, Prince Albert, and she fell into a deep state of mourning, which made her spend time in retreat in her residence at the Isle of Wight. That same year the cake´s original recipe appeared for the first time in a book titled Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management with the name “Victoria Sandwiches”. Legend has it that, to get her out of her seclusion, the Queen was encouraged to host tea parties in which small cakes were served. The sponge cake is said to be the Queen´s favorite, so Mrs. Beeton´s recipe was presumably named after her for this reason. Over the years, the dessert became a synonym of British teatime, and was considered a necessary treat to be offered in the table.
INGREDIENTS OF VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE
But what was it that made this cake be worthy of royal affection? The truth is that the recipe requires no extravagant ingredients. According to Mrs. Beeton’s recipe, all that is needed for the two-layer sponge cake is eggs and their weight in flour, sugar, and butter. Yes! The ingredients weight had to match that of the eggs in their shells. In Victorian times, that was the most popular method bakers used to adjust their measurements to give their cakes a light, fluffy consistency. It is precisely the cake’s soft, mild, and airy texture which probably captivated the Queen’s taste, and will undoubtedly captivate yours too.
VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE TRADITIONAL RECIPE
An authentic Victoria Sponge Cake contains only raspberry jam between the two layers of sponge cake and is dusted on the top with caster sugar. However, the recipe is so versatile that you can encounter many variations. Nowadays, it is common to add a little bit of vanilla to the mixture. Sometimes the cakes are dusted on the top with icing sugar, rather than caster sugar, and they are added whipped cream instead of just jam. Some other variations include strawberries and a thicker layer of whipped cream between the sponges. Even though these variations are equally delicious, we recommend you to try a more traditional version of the cake, since the enjoyment of tasting it does not rely on the filling, but on the texture of the sponge.
Some people like to enjoy the layers separately; however, the cake is meant to be eaten as if it were a sandwich, including all the layers, and that is how we recommend you to eat it. You will notice that when you cut a piece of it with the fork, it compresses just like a sponge, hence the cake´s name. When you finally savor it, you will perceive that its consistency is very mild and light. You will feel as if you were eating a cloud! This is precisely the quality that will invite you to eat more. One bite of this exquisite delicacy is certainly not enough. But do not worry! In spite of its jam filling, the cake is not cloying, since the layers of sponge are very thick and the jam only gives the cake a little bit more consistency and just the right touch of sourness. DINKtravelers recommends you to enjoy Victoria Sponge Cake at teatime, since its light flavor does not overshadow that of the tea; on the contrary, it makes it all the more enjoyable! But the best of all is that you will not have to search for long to find a place where this English favorite is served. You can find it in most tearooms and cake stalls in England, so do not miss the chance to try it in your next visit. We promise it will be a truly delightful experience!