We have two versions of this cake already! The basic recipe is that for Victoria sponge (the weight of the eggs in sugar, butter and flour) but we would usually use self-raising flour in a modern Victoria sponge whereas at the time this recipe was published ‘flour’ just meant what we now call ‘plain flour’. The phenomenal amount of beating to which the batter is subjected (half an hour in all!) was intended to bring air into the mixture to help it rise when cooking.
Version One was cooked as one cake – it took far longer than the suggested half an hour and eventually took between 40 – 60 minutes at 180°. It rose to a nice volcanic peak and when cut had the texture of Madeira Cake. We tried it out on members of the Ceredigion Local History Forum and one, who has a German relation, said it was like German ‘sand cake’.
I have not been able to find any details of M. Langenbach of Caerleon House who contributed this recipe to the St. Michael’s Christmas Tree Recipe Book in 1913. Maybe she was something to do with the University?
Version Two of the recipe was prepared by Helen at Caesar’s Café in North Parade, who loves to try new (and old!) and unusual recipes. She made the cake in two tins like a traditional sponge. It rose beautifully. We’ve handed out samples at Canolfan Rheidol, the council offices in Aberystwyth.