Very British Recipes: Victoria Sponge Cake & Apple Crumble

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You can’t get much more British than the classic Victoria Sponge. 

The classic Victoria Sponge (also known as “Victoria Sandwich”) is two sponge cakes placed together with some raspberry jam (and cream, optional) with icing or caster sugar dusted on top. It’s pretty much the quintessential English teatime treat – and became popular due to Queen Victoria – who gave the sweet treat her name.

The bonus is, it’s very easy to make. All you need is eggs, flour, sugar and butter (of equal weight). Where does it come from? The Victoria Sponge was  the Queen of the same name’s favourite dish (legend has it that she was deprived on sweet things as a child, and very much made up for that when she took the throne). In her day, most cakes had lots of fruits and seeds in, which were seen as choking hazards for children. So, this was made as an alternative, and was so tasty it eventually made it’s way to the adult tea table.

This recipe (adapted from BBC food) cuts nicely into 10 slices, and takes about 30 minutes to make (plus cooling time).

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the filling

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 140g icing sugar, sifted
  • drop vanilla extract (optional)
  • half a 340g jar good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
  • icing sugar, to decorate

What you’ll need

  • A mixing bowl
  • Two 20cm sandwich tins
  • Non-stick baking paper
  • Wooden spoon or whisk
  • Spatula (although, back of a spoon works too).
  • Cooling rack

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper. In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.
  2. Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon, then bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
  3. To make the filling, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in icing sugar. Beat in vanilla extract if you’re using it. Spread the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

Apple Crumble is a delicious British dish that’s perfect with freshly picked apples in the summer or to warm you up in the winter. A much nicer alternative to the very American apple pie, crumble is something all British school kids would have eaten, and it tastes very very nice. Once you’ve mastered the toppings, you can switch this up for pretty much any fruit. Apple and Rhubarb, apple and blackberry, rhubarb and ginger, pear, spiced plum. You can even cook it as a main course with lots of vegetables in the middle.  

This is a great dessert to go with your nday roast, and it’s

Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater.

Ingredients

  • 1kg/2lb 3½oz Bramley apples
  • pinch sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp water or apple juice
  • 100g/3½oz plain flour
  • 75g/2½oz butter
  • 50g/2oz rolled oats
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Wipe the apples and cut them into quarters, then remove the cores and slice each piece in two. Put them into a pan, taste a slice for sweetness and add a sprinkling of sugar accordingly. Add a tablespoon of water or apple juice and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the apples start to soften.

  3. Transfer the apple mixture to a shallow ovenproof pie dish.

  4. Blend the flour and butter in a food processor for a few seconds, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

  5. Stir in the oats and the brown sugar and sprinkle over the cooked apples in the pie dish. Transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden-brown on top.

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Editor 2015-16. Politics Editor 2014-15. Third year Politics and Economics student, I've written for every section but primarily write politics, opinion and news pieces. I also write for The Edge, Kettle Mag, The National Student, The Student Times and the Independent and do lots of work with Surge Radio.

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