This weeks blog post or bake was the great British classic, the Victoria sandwich.
All over the country, people are judged at county fairs and village fates on their versions of this classic cake. The Women’s Institute in the UK are known to be some of the best bakers of this classic British cake. Having had such high praise for my baking over recent months, I thought it about time that I tried a to make a gluten-free version of this classic cake.
So why now have I only decided to attempt a gluten-free version of this cake? Well the very simple answer is because I really wanted to perfect consistency, crumb structure and moistness in cakes in general. I think I have now mastered that and I have learnt how to handle the flour and I know most importantly have confidence to make cakes that I know for many people will hold certain memories.
I am pleased to report that this cake was an instant hit. The ooo’s and ahhh’s were made as it was unveiled in my office on a cold and dreary lunch time.
One of my growing clan of taste testers said:
‘It was extraordinary delicious, as especially it being gluten-free I wondered whether it would be as good as my mum’s, and it was just as good.’
That comment really made me smile, I had baked a cake that was just as good as someone’s mum, because we all know that Mum’s do bake some of the best cakes we have ever tasted as children and grown-ups.
So, here is the recipe for my gluten-free version of this British classic.
You will need two loose non stick bottom baking tins approx 8 inches in diameter, lined with baking paper at the bottom.
300g Gluten-free self raising flour
300g baking margarine
300g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons for xantham gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence flavouring
200g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cold water
125g soften butter or cooking margarine
1/3 jar of raspberry jam or strawberry jam if you prefer
1. Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 180 oC. In an electric mixer or using a hand-held electric cream the margarine and caster sugar until pale in colour, light and fluffy.
2. Then add the vanilla extract and xantham gum and whisk until mixed in. Once mixed in, add the eggs, one egg at a time and whisk in, it might look like it’s curdling, but keep on mixing.
3. Once all the eggs and flavourings are added, mix in the flour. Add all the flour at once and mix on a high speed for no longer than 20 seconds – do not over mix. If all the flour is not mixed in with egg and butter, don’t use the mixer, finish it off by hand. If you over mix the flour I have found that it makes the cake too dense and you will not end up with a light and fluffy cake. The secret, I think is not to over mix the flour.
6. Using loose bottom tins that are lined and greased around the sides. Spoon half the mixture into one tin and the other half into the second tin.
7. Place the cakes into the middle of a preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes on gas mark 5 or 180 oC. The cakes will be done when they are golden in colour, you prick them with a stick and there is no mixture on the stick and when you touch the center the cake springs back at you. If you need to bake it for longer, do so, but keep checking it. Once baked, leave in the tin to cool slightly. Turn the cakes out of your tins onto a cooling rack and remove the baking paper.
8. Once the cakes are cooled, make the butter icing by mixing the icing sugar, butter, vanilla extract and water until a smooth consistency.
9. Once the cakes are cooled you can assemble and put in your fillings. Turn one cake over so that the top of the cake is the bottom and the flat side is now the top. Spoon on a generous amount of jam and spread evenly over the bottom layer. With the second cake, you will need to spoon a generous layer of butter cream on the flat side of the cake (the bottom, flat side). Then sandwich the cake together and sprinkle either some icing sugar on the top or caster sugar.
Enjoy a slice of cake with either a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon, happy gluten-free baking 🙂