Victoria sandwich

Victoria sandwich

How to Cook Cakes
20cm round cake
Peter Cassidy

The traditional Victoria sandwich uses equal weights of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. It is a classic teatime favourite. You will need two 20cm sandwich tins.


Quantity Ingredient
oil, to grease
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
4 eggs, at room temperature
225g self-raising flour
1-2 tablespoons water or milk
5-7 tablespoons raspberry jam


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Lightly brush the 2 sandwich tins with a little oil and line the base of each with a disc of greaseproof paper.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until pale, light and fluffy. The paler the mixture becomes, the more air has been incorporated, which helps to create a lighter cake.
  3. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork until broken up. Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar, in several additions and beating well after each. Adding eggs that are too cold, or adding them too quickly, can cause the mixture to curdle. If this happens, add 1 tbsp of the flour to help to stabilise the mixture.
  4. Once all the egg has been added, sift the flour over the surface of the mixture and fold it in, using a large metal spoon.
  5. Check that the mixture is at the correct dropping consistency. If a little too thick, fold in 1–2 tbsp water or milk.
  6. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and smooth the tops using a spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20–30 minutes, or until well risen and golden. The cakes should feel spongy to the fingertips and not leave an indentation when pressed gently.
  7. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before peeling off the lining paper.
  8. While the cakes are cooling, put the jam into a small saucepan over a low heat and gently warm through, to make it more spreadable. Sandwich the cooled cakes, bases together, with the jam and dust the top of the cake with caster sugar.


  • Coffee walnut cake Dissolve 4 tsp good quality instant coffee granules in 1 tbsp warm water and stir into the mixture before you add the flour. Stir in 75g coarsely chopped walnuts after the flour. You may not need water or milk to achieve a dropping consistency. Omit the raspberry jam. Use coffee butter icing (see page 152) to sandwich and ice the top of the cake.

    West Country sponge Use golden caster sugar and add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the beaten eggs before beating into the mixture. Omit the jam. Stir 2 tsp icing sugar into 200g clotted cream and spread over the bottom cake layer. Slice 200–300g washed, hulled strawberries and arrange over the cream. Sandwich with the top cake layer and dust with icing sugar before serving.

A note on dropping consistency...

  • A mixture at the correct dropping consistency contains just the right amount of liquid to produce a moist cake, and also to create the necessary steam to help the mixture rise. Too wet a mixture will prevent the cake rising well, as it won’t trap the air bubbles effectively. To check the mixture is the correct dropping consistency, lift a spoonful up out of the bowl, turn the spoon and tap the handle on the side of the bowl. The mixture should drop reluctantly from the spoon – neither pouring off nor continuing to stick to the spoon.

Testing to see if the cake is cooked...

  • A cooked creamed cake will be shrinking slightly away from the sides of the tin. Press lightly with a fingertip to make sure there is a spongy set all over the surface and your finger does not leave an indentation.

    You can also test it by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake; it should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it, but certainly no uncooked mixture.

    Most cakes will take on a light golden brown colour when they are cooked, and the smell of a cooked cake is unmistakable.

Removing the cake from the tin…

  • Allow the cake to stand in the tin for a minute or two before removing from the tin, unless the recipe states otherwise, or there is a risk of the cake collapsing a little. For creamed cakes, run a cutlery knife around the edge of the tin before trying to remove it. Make sure the flat of the knife is pressed against the tin as you do so and doesn’t cut into the cake itself.

Cutting a cake into layers…

  • It can be tricky to achieve straight layers of an even thickness when cutting a cake horizontally. It helps to use a long serrated knife, such as a bread knife. Place the cake on a board and score around the edge with the knife, then cut from one edge only as far as the middle. Give the cake a quarter turn, then cut from the edge to the middle again, and repeat.

    Note that creamed cakes are usually cooked in sandwich tins, then layered with a filling, though they can be cooked in one tin, then split into layers. Whisked cakes are generally cooked in one tin and cut into layers.

Rescuing a curdled mixture…

  • A creamed cake mixture curdles when the ingredients cease to be emulsified. This happens when the fat becomes too cold and so sets as small lumps rather than remaining blended with the other ingredients, or the liquid (in this case, the egg) is added too fast to emulsify with the fat. A cake made with a curdled mixture will have a slightly heavier texture. Beating in a tablespoonful of the measured flour will make the mixture smooth again, but this will make the texture not quite as light. However, if the cake is well made and baked it is unlikely that anyone will notice!
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