A student's guide to baking

Victoria Sandwich

Victoria sandwich


The cake:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk

The filling and icing:

  • 100g butter
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 340g strawberry jam
  • 200g strawberries, chopped
  • 400g fondant icing
  • Icing sugar for rolling


  • As always, start by preheating your oven to 180ºC, and grease two 10” cake tins.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, and sieve in the flour and baking powder. Normally you wouldn’t use baking powder if you’re already using self-raising flour, but here it helps the cake to rise that bit more and give it a particularly light texture.
  • Pour in 2 tbsp of milk and mix until smooth. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for about 20 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when pressed, or until it passes the knife test.
  • Leave the cake to cool and make a start on the icing by beating the butter until smooth and soft.
  • Sieve in the icing sugar. My other recipes usually work with a ratio of 1:2 for butter to icing sugar, but here you don’t need something as stiff and strong as you would for decoration or holding a cake together.
  • Add the vanilla extract to the buttercream for extra taste and leave to cool in the fridge.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, take the bottom layer and spread a generous amount of strawberry jam over the top.
  • Next spread the chopped strawberries evenly over the strawberry jam, making sure that they don’t go over the sides.
  • Spread the buttercream over the bottom of the remaining layer and carefully place it over the strawberries.
  • For working with the fondant icing, dust a work surface with icing sugar just as you would use flour otherwise. Work the fondant icing sugar with your hands and then a rolling pin to make it more pliable until you have a large thin layer.
  • Carefully lift the fondant icing off the work surface, draping it over the rolling pin to help carry it. Lay it gently over the cake, making sure that there are no tears in the surface.
  • Using a sharp knife, gently neaten up the edges, using the natural shape of the icing to help guide any curves you want. It’s up to you how much of the side you show, but I think it’s nice to leave some gaps to make it look like the icing has been poured on and so that you can see the strawberries inside.

(Recipe adapted from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1997/classic-victoria-sandwich)


With the return of the Great British Bake Off to our screens, it seemed appropriate to write about this one. The recipe for this is very similar to my other Victoria sandwich recipe (see here), but presentation and structure are a little different, and the measurements vary too.

The first time I made this cake was for a college charity event, where we gathered in the common room to watch the final of the Great British Bake Off last year and there was a bake sale at the same time too. There was even a competition going for who could make the most money with their cake, where the winner would win the official Great British Bake Off cookbook. Sadly I ended up coming 2nd, losing out due to a limited quantity, even though I managed to sell out first. The event went really well and we managed to raise a lot for charity!


The state of the bake sale after half an hour... The GBBO Final hadn't even started by this point.

The state of the bake sale after half an hour… The GBBO Final hadn’t even started by this point.

The inspiration for this cake came from Series 4’s Glenn, who came up with the idea and the design of using whole strawberries and icing over the top. For the charity event it was suggested that we’d get bonus points for recreating one of the bakes from earlier in the series, so I naturally turned to cake and found Glenn’s recipe, which seemed elegant and yet not too complicated.

I also made this cake several months later for my friend Tess’ birthday. The only slight difference there was that I kept 2 small strawberries back at the end, and used them as decoration on the top of the icing. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was time between finishing it and presenting to her for me to get a photo without spoiling the surprise for her, so I don’t have a picture of that particular cake!

When I first made this, it was as I was just starting out with baking, so I can certainly recommend it as a fairly simple recipe that looks good and gets you into thinking about presentation as well.




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