Anna Maria Stanhope, a lady in waiting for Queen Victoria, was often very hungry in the afternoon, hours before the palace’s 9 pm dinner time. She often asked for a small meal of bread and butter, and little cakes and cookies to be brought to her bedroom. It caught on with Anna Maria’s friends, and then with the Queen herself, and ‘high tea’ was born. (https://www.eatlovesavor.com/queen-victorias-connection-to-afternoon-tea/)
Victoria Sponge Cake is often served at high tea. It has a layer of jam in the middle. Sometimes there is whipped cream or a filling in the middle too. It is sprinkled with icing sugar and served in little squares. I have adapted this recipe for Canadian measures and ingredients.
1¼ cups white sugar
4 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons water
1 cup stirred all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons softened butter
⅔ cup icing sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk
½ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
Icing sugar, to sprinkle on top
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 20 cm (8 inch) square pans and line with waxed or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter, then mix in sugar, egg yolks, and water. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until batter is smooth.
In yet another bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth the tops.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when pressed.
Turn onto a rack and let cool completely.
For the filling, beat 2 tablespoons softened butter until smooth, then mix in the icing sugar, vanilla, and milk. Spread the filling on the top of one of the cakes. Top with jam and place the other cake on top. Dust with a little icing sugar. Cut into small squares to serve.