A few years ago, my colleague Frances Stead Sellers wrote a Staff Favorites essay for the Food section about her family’s triumphs concerning the Victoria Sandwich Cake, a staple of British culinary arts and afternoon teas.
Now, we’re not suggesting that anything served with jam and cream is fit to eat while viewing William and Kate walk down the aisle, but this creation does seem like a good alternative or addition to the inevitable plate of scones.
Makes one 7- or 8-inch cake (6 to 8 servings)
Traditionally, raspberry jam is used as filling and the cake top is sprinkled with sugar. But lemon curd or whipped cream or buttercream frosting may be used between the layers, too.
For best results, start with room-temperature ingredients. The unfilled layers can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month.
Adapted from "The Times Cookery Book," by Katie Stewart (William Collins Sons and Co., 1974 paperback edition).
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking pans
1 cup self-rising flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sugar, preferably superfine (or pulsed in a food processor), plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry jam (may substitute lemon curd, buttercream frosting or whipped cream)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease two 7- or 8-inch round cake pans, then line both pan bottoms with a round of wax paper or parchment paper that has also been greased. Lightly flour sides and bottoms of the pans, tapping out any excess.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use an electric hand-held mixer; beat on medium speed for several minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract, mixing to combine. Then add a little of the sifted dry ingredients. With the speed on low, gradually add the remaining sifted mixture and beat for 1 minute or just until combined; be careful not to overbeat.
Divide the batter between the cake pans and rap the pans lightly on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let sit for 2 minutes, then turn the 2 cake layers out onto the rack; let cool completely. Place 1 cooled layer on a plate and spread an even layer of jam to within 1 / 2 inch of the edges; invert the second layer and place it securely on top of the jam. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sugar.