21 Aug Victoria: Queen of Cakes
Without a doubt, the dessert that gets the most ooh’s and aah’s from our customers is the Victoria Sponge Cake. A highly traditional cake that is iconic to British baking, the Victoria Sponge is famed for being extremely light, yet still deliciously indulgent with the combination of sweet raspberries, rich unsweetened cream and buttery sponge. Highly different to many American-styled cakes which favor a richly sweet icing, the Victoria Sponge always incurs sighs of satisfaction from our customers and has been a staple addition to British baking for over a hundred years.
The favorite cake of Queen Victoria I (1819-1901) which resulted in it’s being named after her. The Queen enjoyed a slice of sponge cake with her Afternoon Tea, a phenomenon that became popular late in the 19th century. Due to the nature of eating dinner late in the evening, people were left feeling hungry during the long gap between lunch and dinner. The invention of Afternoon Tea is credited to Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), who introduced a meal of tea and cakes or sandwiches to her household and frequently invited her friends to join her. One of whom was Queen Victoria herself who quickly adopted it to the royal house for formally dressed parties of aristocratic ladies.
A Victoria Sponge Cake is made with two layers of sponge cake sandwiching raspberry jam and double cream. There are many variations however, with some recipes calling for buttercream or vanilla cream, some using strawberry jam with fresh strawberries and some sprinkling caster sugar over the top instead of powdered sugar. In Queen Victoria’s day the cake likely was made without the cream at all and just layered sponge cake and jam with a sprinkling of caster sugar. The cake also has many variations of name, often being called a Victoria Sandwich or just a Sponge Cake.
Most recently the Victoria Sponge had been made even more popular by being featured on The Great British Bake Off as one of Mary Berry’s decadent creations. As ever, you can grab a slice or order a whole cake at Pie Society in Savannah and Pooler GA! We’re also very excited to announce that the cake fit for a queen is now available for shipping, with our ‘Build your own Victoria Sponge Cake’, complete with our traditional recipe sponge, two piping bags full of fresh cream and raspberry jam, and a mini shaker of powdered sugar. Go to www.thebritishpiecompany.com/order/desserts