Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society Classic Victoria Sandwich
This is a very classic British cake recipe from the BBC Good Food Magazine (May, 2005) which is super easy and quick to make. If you prefer, you can skip the icing filling and just spread strawberry jam between the two sponge layers.
In The Jane Austen Society, this cake is served in Chapter 17, where reclusive heiress Frances Knight is being visited by two Hollywood insiders who want to acquire the former Austen cottage as a summer home. Showcasing the very real fruits of the centuries-old estate where she lives, Frances has two cakes put out for her guests, including a classic Victoria sponge. I mention this cake because it is a favorite of mine, and it could be made in World War II England with homemade preserves, local honey in place of sugar, and simple eggs, flour, milk, and butter— all available in a farming village like Chawton.
Natalie Jenner’s Classic Victoria Sandwich Cake
Natalie Jenner shares a book club recipe for a Classic Victoria Sandwich, a two layer sponge cake filled with icing and jam, inspired by her novel, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY.
For the cake
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 14 tablespoons softened butter
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 2/3 cups self-rising flour (see note)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
For the filling
- 7 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 drop vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup good-quality strawberry jam (we used Tiptree Little Scarlet)
For the topping
- Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
To make the cake
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F°. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl beat superfine sugar, butter, eggs, self-rising flour, baking powder, and milk together until batter is smooth. Divide the mixture between the cake pans, smoothing the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until cakes are golden and spring back when pressed Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the buttercream filling
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, and a drop of vanilla extract, if using.
- Invert a cake on a plate. Spread the buttercream over the bottom. Top it with strawberry jam. Spread jam, and sandwich the second sponge layer on top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
- Keep in an airtight container and serve within 2 days.
Note: To make self-rising flour for this recipe: add 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt to 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour.