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Victoria Sponge Cake


(Or Victoria Sandwich Cake)

The 'Victoria Sponge' is now a circular sponge cake of white wheatflour, butter, sugar and whole egg. Split and filled with red jam and cream or creamed butter/sugar/vanilla. Dusted with icing sugar.

Mary Berry's perfect Victoria sandwich
Image: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food

The history of VS is unclear. There is mention of a 'Victoria Cake' in the 'Practical Cook' of 1845, but that is a lemon-and-peel flavoured egg sponge. We find the phrase ""It's Victoria sponge-cake," said Eleanor" in the 1857 novel 'Edith Mortimer; or, The trials of life at Mortimer manor' by Gertrude Parsons, but there is no explanation of what it is. The name 'Victoria Cake' is found in the Italian celebrity chef Charles Elmé Francatelli in 1858, again without explanation. In 1861 Mrs Beeton's 'Victoria Sponge' (below) is more-or-less the modern version, but uses 'jam or marmalade' and is served cut into fingers.

Original Receipt in 'The Book of Household Management', 1861, edited by Isabella Beeton (See Mrs.B)

1491. INGREDIENTS: 4 eggs; their weight in pounded sugar, butter, and flour; 1/4 saltspoonful of salt, a layer of any kind of jam or marmalade.
Mode: Beat the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour and pounded sugar; stir these ingredients well together, and add the eggs, which should be previously thoroughly whisked. When the mixture has been well beaten for about 10 minutes, butter a Yorkshire-pudding tin, pour in the batter, and bake it in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool, spread one half of the cake with a layer of nice preserve, place over it the other half of the cake, press the pieces slightly together, and then cut it into long finger-pieces; pile them in crossbars on a glass dish, and serve.
Time: 20 minutes.
Average cost: 1s. 3d.
Sufficient: for 5 or 6 persons.
Seasonable: at any time.

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