There are a few things I remember about growing up in Tanga (East Africa, we came to Canada when I was 7), but one of them for sure was tea time. As we were under British rule, the afternoon tea was more than a “coffee break”. It often included little sandwiches, cakes or scones and cream. Today I decided to bake a traditional tea time treat – a Victoria sandwich, this recipe is from Mary Berry a well known UK Chef. This is a delicious sponge cake that has a layer of raspberry jam in the middle. If you really want to be decadent, some whipping cream can also be put with the jam layer. However, I’m no longer 6, and due to the expanding waistline and skyrocketing cholesterol levels (sounds a bit like the economy doesn’t it), we will have to stay with the jam (oh trust me, it’s a sacrifice, I mean compromise).

What I remember most about this cake is the texture.  Hand beating all the ingredients together gives it a really nice crumb texture, almost as if it were cornmeal based.  But really really tasty so go ahead and make it.  A one dish dish.

4 eggs
225g/8oz sugar plus a little extra for dusting the finished cake
225g/8oz self-rising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g/8oz soft butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins or use a non stick spray
good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam (I used a combination of marmalade and apricot jam)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
2. Grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in cake tins (mine were 7.5″ rounds) no need
3. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder and butter
4. Mix everything together until well combined. You can use either a hand mixer or do it by hand – wrap a damp towel under the bowl to avoid it slipping. Be careful not to over-mix.  The finished batter should fall off a spoon easily.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
6. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes – use the touch or toothpick method at the minimum time.
7. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently or use a tooth pick to check if they are done – they should be springy to the touch or the toothpick should come clean.
8. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
9. Set aside to cool completely.
10. To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it with plenty of jam.
11. Top with the second cake, top-side up. Sprinkle icing sugar over the top

Victoria Sandwich - Mise en PlaceVictoria Sandwich - In the ovenVictoria Sandwich - Icing SugarVictoria Sandwich - Cut