Victoria Sandwich

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Technical Challenge

In all Great British Baking show competitions the second challenge is the technical challenge. The first ever was the Victoria Sandwich. I guess this is a sweet treat Queen Victoria liked with her afternoon tea. Being American I had never heard of it prior to the show and I was eager to try it.

All and all I would say it was an easy bake. I thought I had done a great job until I posted the side by side comparison. I think my cake, or sponge, was much lighter than the picture showed. But then again it’s a comparison against Mary Berry with perfect professional lighting so I am not sure that was ever going to turn out in my favor 🙂

Following the recipe I made a couple of changes and there is one thing I would do differently…

  1. I made homemade jam. It’s just too easy and so much better than the store bought.
  2. Instead of self rising flour I made my own by adding Baking Powder and salt. However I did use slightly less Baking Powder than was recommended to adjust to living in Colorado.
  3. Following Mary Berry’s recipe I would make twice as much filling. The amount the recipe called for allowed me pipe around the edge, but I could not pipe that well inside. I tried to spread it, however it was making too much of a mess so I just did the best I could.

Judge (Kurt)

It was a good bake. Cake pans were not even resulting in the bottom pan being a little dry. Jam as fantastic. A solid 8.5

RECIPE (from the BBC)

  • For the sponge
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • For the jam
  • 200g (7oz) raspberries
  • 250g (9oz) jam sugar
  • For the buttercream
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8in sandwich tins: use a piece of baking or silicone paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated. Line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder and soft butter. Mix everything together until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the door while they’re cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
  5. While the cakes are cooking, make the jam. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container. Leave to cool and set.
  6. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
  7. To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack. Set aside to cool completely.
  8. For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  9. To assemble, choose the sponge with the best top, then put the other cake top-down on to a serving plate. Spread with the jam then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam. Place the other sponge on top (top uppermost) and sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.


For this recipe you will need two 8in sandwich tins, an electric mixer and piping bag fitted with plain nozzle. Note: This recipe contains U.K. measurements and may require conversions to U.S. measurements. It has also not been professionally tested.