There is cake. And there is Victoria sponge cake.
September 14, 2017 9:35 PM   Subscribe

While BBC staff are embroiled in an ugly cheesecake theft incident, a Dorset baker gets on with making a Victoria sponge cake weighing over 300 kg and using 700 eggs. Popular online, sometimes refered to as a Victoria sandwich (the difference explained), and sometimes difficult to bake, this consists of two sponges mortared with a layer of raspberry jam and a layer of whipped double cream, buttercream or vanilla cream. The WI offers a standard recipe though there are variations; some people are alleged to use electric mixers. The cake was named after Queen Victoria, who was known to like a nibble around tea time (4 o'clock in the afternoon). The advice for entering a Victoria sponge cake in a village show is often extremely debatable (and tips).

* James Oliver perhaps fussily recommends adding some raspberries to the filling.
* An early recipe for Victoria sponge appears in Isabella Beeton’s 1861 Book of Household Management. The instructions note specifically that the resultant cake should feed five or six people.
* Paul Hollywood prefers lashings of whipping cream.
* A Great British Bake Off winner, Candice Brown, presents her recipe for triple layer berry Victoria sponge.
* Joanne Wheatley, another winner of the Great British Bake Off, presents her miniature Victoria sandwiches.

Good news for many MeFites in that Americans are allowed to make the Victoria sponge cake; the measurements in American units. The cake itself is similar to an American pound cake, but more British. However, cupcakes are unlikely to be agreeably classified as a Victoria sponge cake. Pair with a cup of tea, but note that alternatives to sugar are controversial, and do not even go here.

* As can be seen from the WI recipe, the ratio of ingredients is crucial. Claire Jackson uses a 6:6:6:3 ratio.
* The most popular variation to, or adornment on, Victoria sponge cakes are strawberries, as demonstrated by Donal Skehan.
* This Victoria sponge cake, by Karen Burns-Booth, is made with duck eggs.
* Here is a pictorial record of the construction of a Victoria sponge cake variation, along with many other pictures of the show it was made for (contains scenes of a rural English nature).
* A classic Victoria sponge cake is not iced. This is therefore not such a cake, and neither is this. No.

Here is a very patriotic picture (though slightly unfortunate French flag effect at base) of a Victoria sponge cake; and another one. Sometimes, supermarket Victoria sponge cake can be okay. Here is an interesting angle, and a cake that looks good but is unfortunately covered in icing, and a nice shot of cake, and this one is good too.

* In the no-doubt bohemian village of Shrewley in Warwickshire, the village show allows your Victoria sponge cake to have a "filling of your own choice".
* Though Porchfield on the Isle of Wight are quite descriptive in the recipe contestants are to follow, they do allow the filling to be "raspberry or strawberry jam".
* In the background are some of the entrants in the Victoria sponge cake competition at the Alderley Edge village show in Cheshire.
* The Queen Victoria sponge cake competition recipe specified for entrants to the Welton village fete in Lincolnshire contains the controversial line "decorated as royally as possible".
* And remember - even if you are new to a rural English show, your Victoria sponge cake can still score higher than the entries of seasoned professionals. Good luck!
posted by Wordshore (30 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
The rabbit hole beckoned to Old Abehammerb, and down down he fell.

Amazing post. The village show link is horrifying. Is that real, or just artful satire?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:46 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Bake me one.

All of you.
posted by notyou at 9:52 PM on September 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


Actually, each of you. Each of you bake me one while the Sergeant at Arms exiles the Minister of Social Media.
posted by notyou at 9:54 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Abehammerb Lincoln: Very real. One often finds an English village scarecrow show to be an interesting and invigorating event.
posted by Wordshore at 9:56 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Speaking of cake, there is one of The Doctor Blake Mysteries that involved him testing a lot of delicious-looking cakes for low amounts of poison. His solution? Feed each of his friends and take their blood!

I believe one of the cakes was Battenberg, which sounds kinda like a Victoria cake but with marzipan instead of buttercream?

Great. Now I want cake. Where is the nice man from Church of England, as I am choosing cake instead of death.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Wordshore, may I ask how many English foodstuff posts you have lined up? I inquire only because my shopping list is already rather full, as is my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:03 PM on September 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


is dorset man the area man of the uk?

also

excellent use of the eggs tag
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:06 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]




Has the BBC checked on John S. Hall? Because he has a history of cheesecake theft.
posted by fings at 10:23 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Battenberg has a fundamentally different architecture but is also well worth exploring.
posted by Segundus at 10:40 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


"What a nest of cake-stealing vipers! Faith in humanity utterly shattered."

Indeed. If I were in charge of the kitchen I'd be putting in a secret camera and baiting the fridge with more cheesecake, just to see who this dastardly excuse of a human was. Smh.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 11:51 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


That mumsnet thread is comedy gold. And this entire post is a showstopper win.
posted by freya_lamb at 11:57 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


is Dorset man the area man of the uk?

Speaking as one, no. But Dorset is the source of an excellent style of cake.

Also, knob biscuits. And therefore knob throwing. And the naughty Cerne Abbas Giant. And places like Shitterton.
posted by dowcrag at 12:27 AM on September 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Inspired by yet another re-watch of GBBO, my wife made a Victoria sandwich for my birthday cake last month. It was delicious, but the baking was indeed more challenging than she had expected.
posted by briank at 3:49 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Victoria sponge cake meets ballet props
posted by thomas j wise at 4:06 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


The cake itself is similar to an American pound cake, but more British.

What, does it have Worcestershire sauce in it, or something?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:27 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


This post is amazing. On our recent trip to the UK, I had a delicious slice of Victoria sponge cake at the Teddy Bear Tea Room in York. My son was delighted by the idea of eating cake in the middle of the afternoon (he got a double chocolate brownie, that, to be honest, I was pretty jealous of and wished I had also ordered, though the sponge cake was excellent). I am loving these British food threads!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:36 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Mostly I'm just thrilled to learn that Mary Berry's online recipes aren't nearly as cryptic as on the show.
posted by solotoro at 6:31 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Last time I had Victoria Sponge, at a national trust property no less, it was served with just a jam filling and no cream. Upon googling I was horrified to discover this is considered an acceptable variation. There aught to be a law!
posted by hazyjane at 8:44 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


I tried making a Victoria Sandwich, using Mary Berry's recipe no less, and the result was disappointingly dry and kind of dense.

OTOH, my cake baking skills leave a lot to be desired. I haven't yet produced any really acceptable sponge even with theoretically easier recipes. They're all a bit flat and dense and either too dry or too moist.
posted by sotonohito at 9:39 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Holy fuck, this delicious post.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:17 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ironically am currently eating a slice of Victoria sponge cake from Marks and Spencer. And, yes, it's supermarket cake, mass produced, in a box that's been on shelves for a few days. But like quite a lot of M&S food, it's damned good.
posted by Wordshore at 11:57 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


The fact that I can't get M&S food shipped to me in the US makes me sad. I should have brought home more flapjack bars when I had the chance!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 12:19 PM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


British food names are so confusing. I am genuinely surprised that it is not made out of sponge, the animal.
posted by ikalliom at 1:10 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am genuinely surprised that it is not made out of sponge, the animal.

When they sneer, mock, and chatter to you through the net most times you let the bastards go.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:44 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the UK "sponge" is apparently the general term for any sort of cake. I only know this because I watched the Great British Bake Off.
posted by sotonohito at 2:23 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


In the UK "sponge" is apparently the general term for any sort of cake.

Hilariously though they also use the French word gateau to refer to particularly fancy cakes. Something I also derived from Great British Bake Off.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


> In the UK "sponge" is apparently the general term for any sort of cake.

No, it's not a generic term for "cake" here. We'd never use "sponge" to refer to a fruitcake, for example.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 5:58 AM on October 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I stand corrected.
posted by sotonohito at 6:19 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, it's not a generic term for "cake" here.

There is a lovely word that is a generic term for cake. "Cake".
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2017


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