The calendar says Spring, but the weather still says Winter. Even so, the market had the most beautiful strawberries on sale this week. I bought 2 quarts and after eating one quart, I decided to make a cake with the other.
I have been wanting to make Jo Wheatley’s Victorian Sandwich cake for a while. In her cookbook A Passion for Baking, she says that the Victorian Sandwich “reminds her of all things British”. I wanted to know what was different about this cake from a regular cake.
On Wikipedia, I found out that the US calls this type of cake a pound cake, while the British call it a Victoria Sponge cake. Wikipedia has an entire page on this, so if you are interested in learning more, click here. I find this interesting because the texture of this finished Victoria Sandwich is much more like a sponge cake than a pound cake. In fact, it even looks like a sponge.
The standard Victoria Sandwich cake has a layer of jam between two layers of cake. Sometimes, buttercream is also used between the layers. Because I had all the strawberries, I wanted to incorporate them into my cake. I decided to make mine a little like a strawberry shortcake.
Between the cake layers, I layered fresh cut strawberries and homemade whipped cream. Then I added more whipped cream and strawberries on top. I also put about 1/2 a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips in the cake batter, because there are people in my house who think desserts are not good unless there is chocolate in them. It was not a bad decision.
The cake was delicious. The chocolate pieces fell to the bottom of each layer during baking and this formed a base. The cake had a nice crunchy outside layer. The inside was plain but sweet enough. It is a perfect coffee or tea pairing kind of cake. And it was not loaded down with frosting, so you did not think you were inhaling mega calories.
I would absolutely make this cake again. It was easy and delicious. Enjoy!
Victoria Sandwich, adapted from A Passion for Baking by Jo Wheatley
200g self-raising flour (I use Presto brand)
1 tsp baking powder
200g caster sugar (granulated is fine to use)
200g margarine, at room temperature (butter is fine to use)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (can add more if desired)
1 quart strawberries, washed
whipped cream (recipe below)
2 – 8” round cake pans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cake pans with a non-stick floured spray (like Baker’s Joy).
Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl and whisk to mix. Set this aside.
Using a stand mixer, combine the butter or margarine and sugar. Beat until creamy and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat. Add the vanilla and beat. Then pour in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter evenly into two baking pans. (I weigh my pans at this point to make sure they contain the same amount). Place pans in middle rack of oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake separates from the sides of the pan and is golden brown on the outside. Allow the cakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and then place them on cake racks to cool further.
Prepare the strawberries by slicing them in thirds so that the center slice is flat on both sides. That is the slice that will be used between the layers. The two end pieces of strawberry will be used on top of the cake.
When the cakes have completely cooled, place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, scoop the whipped cream onto the cake and spread it out evenly. Then layer on the strawberries, as much or as little as you want. Add the second cake layer on top and press slightly. Scoop more whipped cream on top of the cake and spread evenly. Add the strawberry pieces in a decorative design. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. You may have left over strawberries, which happen to be a delicious treat with left over whipped cream.
Store the cake in the refrigerator.
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Whip cream in bowl until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar and continue whipping until it forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.