I’ve made Victoria Sandwich Cakes plenty of times; they are one of my very favourite cakes to bake. They are delightfully simply and yet with their distinctively British pedigree, a nice nostalgic connection with a heritage of baking and afternoon tea. The photo in my header (tea at a local farm shop – actually not in the afternoon because everyone present has a toddler and they sleep half the afternoon) sums it up beautifully.
But I had not made a Pound Cake, probably partly because it is so similar to the Victoria Sandwich, and partly also because it’s not really a British cake any more. When I started reading about its history I became curious and wanted to give it a go, just to test out how it diverges from the Victoria Sandwich, you understand.
I had a lot of problems picking a recipe. I wanted a ‘classic’ but many of the places I looked had recipes with non-traditional extras, like cream cheese or sour cream. In the end I went for Julia Child‘s recipe, published in Baking WIth Julia Child (I found it reproduced here).
It was superlatively straightforward. I did it all in the food processor, assisted by my Junior Baker, who likes pressing the button to turn it on, and has also recently discovered that cake batter tastes nice. A coming of age moment, I think. The only hitch was that I turned the child lock back on our new-to-us oven once the cake was in, not realising that this turns the oven off. Oops. Luckily The Scientist noticed and turned it back on. Happily this didn’t seem to affect the finished cake (I’m sure I’ve read about some cakes which benefit from starting in a cold oven – something to investigate further, I think). I served it for dessert to my visiting in-laws and all agreed that it was both denser and more buttery-tasting than a Victoria Sandwich. Not better, but in a top-quality niche of its own. I will definitely be making this American-via-eighteenth-century-Europe cake again.