Beeton originally documented the recipe as a perfect 4:4 ratio of a baker's go-to ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. Most English cooks still follow that guide, as do many non-English cooks, because the Victoria Sponge is England's most well-traveled cake, visiting her old colonies and never leaving. It still turns up at boarding schools in Kenya and home kitchens in India, and other places too. As a girl guide in England, I had to bake a Victoria Sponge for a stranger and serve it to him with a pot of tea to acquire my hostess badge—which they've since retired or renamed, I imagine.The technique of weighing eggs and then using equal weights of the other ingredients is one I had heard of but never tried. This time, I decided to do the experiment -- as there are only two of us, I started with two, rather than four eggs. I weighed butter, sugar, and flour; creamed the butter and sugar; added the egg, then the flour; and baked my single layer in an 8 inch pan. It took a little longer than the 25 minutes in the recipe, which did not specify pan size. Although I had raspberry jam, which the recipe suggests, I used lemon curd between the layers.
Not-so-Victorian tricks: I softened the butter in the microwave oven, and used my electric mixer for beating the cake. My oven has a thermostat and an on-off switch, which no Victorian oven had. Also a modern advantage: I cleaned up with running water and a dishwasher. Eat your heart out, Mrs. Beeton.
We ate the cake for dinner, with tea. It's a dense cake, and tasted good. It's true: we had nothing but cake for dinner. How nice.
Have I been blog-lazy this long? What I have missed! This looks really terrific -- Oh, dear -- I want it now!
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