Victoria Sandwiches

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

By Annie Gray and Andrew Hann

Published 2020

  • About

One of many recipes named for Queen Victoria, this first appeared in Isabella Beeton’s best-selling The Book of Household Management in 1861. Beeton’s book was very skilfully written, with an empowering start – ‘as with the commander of an army, so it is with the mistress of a house’ – and a vast quantity of recipes. However, she didn’t exactly promise original content, and the vast majority of her recipes were cobbled together from other books of the time, especially those of Eliza Acton. Beeton was highly aspirational, including advice on how to manage footmen, which was far above the level of most of her buyers. Cooks such as Mrs Crocombe would quickly have seen through her plagiarism, and the recipes were a bit below the level that Mrs Crocombe was cooking at. This version of Beeton’s original is from Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery, a typically encyclopaedic later-Victorian book that is very popular with the team at Audley End, as it has recipes for almost everything conceivable.

Ingredients

  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup caster sugar
  • 115 g/4 oz/scant 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 70 g/ oz/¼ cup jam (jelly), such as strawberry or raspberry
  • icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add a spoonful of flour to stop the mixture splitting, then beat in the eggs, whisking continuously. Mix in the rest of the flour and the baking powder.

Butter a rectangular cake tin (about 28 x 14 cm/11 x 5½ inches) and line it with lightly buttered baking parchment. Pour in the batter and bake for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling completely on a wire rack.

To serve, cut the cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife and spread the bottom layer with jam. Replace the top and cut the whole cake into 8 strips, to look like finger sandwiches. Dust them with icing sugar. Pile them up, two at a time, with each pair at right angles to the last, to form a lattice.