Babies are simply wonderful, and every baby’s arrival is an occasion for celebration. Although babies come into the world, unheralded, every day, this week the world waited and watched for the birth of one particular baby: His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Weighing in at 8 lbs, 6 ozs, the baby boy (blissfully unaware of the stress all that attention might bring upon his family) is now at home, apparently doing well with his mom (mum?) and dad. Not usually a person given to paying attention to media hype, I actually stand in unity this week with all those people who – for whatever reason – care about the birth of a child to Britain’s royal family. The day of Prince George’s birth, I was reading updates on the ABC news website (I confess that I, too, was very curious about the child’s gender) when I spied a link entitled: Throw a Royal Baby Party: 7 Royal Recipes to Celebrate. I clicked on the link and found seven intriguing recipes, a few of them desserts. None of the recipes are gluten-free, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made gluten-free!
I decided, in solidarity with the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents, who proclaim their grandson as “absolutely beautiful” (grandbabies are always beautiful, even those babies who aren’t!), to celebrate the royal infant’s arrival by choosing a royal recipe and making it gluten-free. In this small way, Phillip and I can rejoice in spirit with the new grandparents of the future king across the pond. Although the chocolate biscuit cake recipe looks fabulously delicious, I decided to go with the Victoria Sponge Cake. Chocolate biscuit cake is apparently Prince William’s favorite, but practicality ruled the day and I didn’t have time to drive to Sprouts for the gluten-free graham crackers I would need for that recipe. I did have on hand ingredients for the Victoria Sponge cake, though. Victoria won the day.
This sponge cake takes its name from Queen Victoria, who loved to have sponge cake with her tea in the afternoons. During the Victorian era, the recipe for this cake was referred to as “Victoria Sandwiches”; after the cake was assembled, it was cut into “long finger pieces” then piled in “crossbars” on a glass dish (Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1907. 3437).
For this cake, I adapted the recipe I found on the ABC website. I used brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch, and in addition to adding guar gum to the recipe, I added an extra egg and a little extra baking powder. The cake turned out really well. It rose about the amount I expected it to, it’s texture it tender and rich, and it tastes light and flavorful.
8 oz Kerrygold unsalted butter
200 g organic cane sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
125 g Authentic Foods Superfine brown rice flour
75 g Tapioca flour
50 g Potato starch
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp guar gum
Butter cream filling (recipe follows)
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two eight inch cake pans. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla.
Stir together the flours, baking powder, and guar gum. On low speed, mix the dry ingredients into the batter, until smooth.
Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans; use a spatula to smooth the batter evenly in the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, or with only a few crumbs on it: about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool.
Butter Cream Filling
4 oz Kerrygold unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla extract
400 g (about two cups) Powdered sugar
1 to 2 tbls milk
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla, and gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add just enough milk to make the filling soft and spreadable.
To Assemble The Cake:
Once the cake has cooled, spread jam on of the cake layers, and the butter cream filling on the other layer.( I spread the jam and butter cream filling to about ½ inch of the edge of each cake layer, to allow for the spreading of jam and filling that happens once the cake layers are put together. That way jam and butter cream filling don’t ooze from between the layers and trickle down the side of the cake.) Put the two layers together, with the jam facing the butter cream filling, and place on a cake plate. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.