I’ve never eaten a true British Victoria Sponge….
It’s true, I just haven’t. I’m gluten intolerant and have a casein allergy so the normal fluffy looking Victoria Sponge is an impossibility for me. And the Victoria Sponges on the market that are gluten and dairy free? Well they have strawberries in them – or at least strawberry jam – both of which would make me swell up, stop breathing and die. So needless to say, I never risked it. At least, not until now, when I received a bottle of Duerr’s Rhubarb Custard Home Baking Jam (which is only available online at the moment – but is soooo worth it!). It made me think of one of the times I visited St. Jacob’s market back in Canada – and saw a rhubarb pie on sale. That’s it, just rhubarb, no berries – meaning it would not kill me. I was not gluten free at the time so it was not a problem for me to quickly buy it. I had never thought of rhubarb as a fruit in itself – always in conjunction with some sort of berry – but that pie was so yummy that I remember it even now, years later! Farmers just have this touch with produce don’t they?!
It must have been fate that I ended up in Yorkshire when I first moved to England, because guess what is locally grown there in abundance? You guessed it – rhubarb. I used to look at the long red stalks in Sainsbury’s daily (because if you remember there was not much for me to do in Huddersfield so I baked a lot!) and wondered if I could try to make that pie that I remembered so vividly. I chickened out each time because as much as I do like to try new ingredients as often as I could, I do have a bit of anxiety about wasting something horribly or messing it up – so it takes a lot of willpower for me to pick up something as “alien” and mysterious to me as rhubarb.
Well this jam made it easy, and I jumped at the chance at trying a Victoria Sponge. I went searching on my gluten free forums and facebook groups for a recipe but did not find any. Then I checked the Honeybuns recipe book that I love but surprisingly that did not have either! Then I remembered the “Learn to cook wheat, gluten and dairy free” cookbook by Antoinette Savill that my sister bought me for Christmas a few years ago. I depend on their chocolate cake, so why not see if they had a Victoria Sponge recipe? And guess what. They did. So all I did was substitute Dove’s Farm flour mix for the specified Orgran flour mix and the Duerr’s rhubarb custard jam for strawberry jam and I ended up with this fluffy, light looking gluten and dairy and berry free Victoria Sponge. Half of which is already gone (don’t worry Mom and Dad, quarter went to the sis and her new hubby…the rest I admit I had for breakfast).
Anyway, I thought I’d share the recipe with you so that you could try it too.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Victoria Sponge by Antoinette Savill
(shortened because I’m lazyto type it ALL out – but this is all you need to know to make it fantastic!)
175 g dairy-free sunflower spread (I used Pure brand)
175 g caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
200 g Orgram gluten-free self raising flour (I used Dove’s farm Gluten free flour mix)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder (I used Dr. Oetker brand)
Rasperry or strawberry jam (I used Duerr’s Rhubarb Custard Homebaking Jam and would say it is fantastic!)
Icing sugar, sifted
**Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4
**Line two 9″ cake tins with parchment paper
1) Cream the sunflower spread with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy using a wooden spoon
2) Beat in one spoonful of the beaten egg at a time until about half is incorporated.
3) Mix one tablespoon of the flour into the mixture and then continue with the beaten egg.
4) Fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder. If the batter is too thick, add a tablespoon of hot water.
5) Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and shake slightly to smooth and even the tops.
6) Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cake is golden adn the top is firm enough to spring back when touched with your fingertip.
7) Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
8) When the cakes are cooled, sandwich them together on a serving plate with the jam and then dust the entire thing with ample icing sugar.
What gluten and dairy filled treats would you like to try?