A student's guide to baking

Posts tagged ‘Victoria sandwich’

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.




4 Layer Victoria Sandwich



The cake:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

The filling:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 150g strawberry jam
  • 400g strawberries (halved)
  • Icing sugar (for dusting)


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Start by creaming together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Crack in the eggs one at a time whilst continuing to mix.
  • Sieve in the flour and gently stir in the milk.
  • Add the vanilla essence.
  • Grease two 10” cake tins and pour the mix evenly into both.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until they pass the knife test and spring back when gentle pressure is applied.


  • The real beauty of this cake lies in the filling. Whisk the cream until you have a strong whipped cream with stiff peaks.
  • Chop the strawberries in half, trying to make sure that they’re all roughly the same height when lying down on their sides. If needs be, chop large strawberries into three slices.
  • When the cake layers are baked and cool to the touch, it’s time to start the assembly process. Cut each layer in half to give you 4 semi-circle cake layers.
  • On the bottom layer, spread a hearty layer of jam. You want enough that there is a consistent red layer over the lighter colour of the sponge, but not so much that it starts dripping over the sides and makes the cake wet.
  • On top of the jam, create a layer of the chopped strawberries. I usually go for putting the flat edge of the strawberry against the edge of the cake and having the points facing inwards, and then gradually filling in the rest of the layer.
  • Take your next layer, and apply a generous layer of the whipped cream to the bottom before gently placing it over the strawberries.
  • Repeat this process for the next two layers, until you’ve placed the final fourth layer on the cake.
  • Using a sieve, add icing sugar over the top of the cake as dusting.

(See my Victoria sandwich recipe for the inspiration)

4 layer Victoria sandwich

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Certainly in this case, she was. When I started this cake, I had planned on making a standard Victoria sandwich. However, as this was my first foray into the world of gluten-free baking, the cake didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped in the oven, so that when it was ready and cooked, it was about half the height that I’d normally expect from a Victoria sandwich. (I since learnt that the best way to avoid this is just to make more cake mix.)

Not wanting to waste cake (and by that I mean not wanting to have to eat the entire thing myself to dispose of the evidence), I decided to double up the layering on the suggestion of my mother. Thankfully it worked out rather well!

By including the same filling as normal between every layer of cake, the overall height was sufficient that there was plenty of cake in the end. People ended up having smaller slices to accommodate for the height and so only having a half of a circular sponge wasn’t an issue!