I'm obsessed with this British reality show on BBC2 called "The Great British Bake Off", aka GBBO. Each week the UK's best home bakers compete in three challenges centered around a common theme, e.g., Breads, Tarts, Pastry. From the formidable judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, to the hysterical presenters, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, I love everything about this show. CBS tried it's own version this past summer, The American Baking Competition, but unfortunately it just didn't measure up.
Sadly BBC America doesn't broadcast GBBO on this side of the pond so I've had to get my fix on YouTube. The very first challenge in the latest series was to make a "sandwich" or layer cake. Several of the competitors made the British classic, Victoria Sandwich, named after Queen Victoria herself. Apparently this vanilla cake layered with jam and fresh whipped cream was an afternoon tea favorite of the sovereign.
It couldn't be easier to make and visually I find it quite stunning in its simplicity. Give it a go for yourself!
Makes one 6" inch cake. You can double the recipe and bake in 8" cake pans.
100 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 grams granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams self-rising flour
125 ml heavy cream (~ 1 cup) whipped with about 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
about 4 tablespoons strawberry jam (or your favorite flavor)
powdered sugar (to dust on top of the finished cake)
Preheat oven to 375 F (or 190 C). Line bottom of two 6" inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency. Slowly beat in the eggs, one by one, then fold in the flour and mix well.
Divide the mix between the cake pans, place into the oven and bake for about 20 mins until risen and golden brown. The cakes should spring back when gently pushed in the middle. When ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 mins in the tin, before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
Spread the jam onto one cake and top with the whipped cream. Sandwich the cakes together and dust with powdered sugar.