When’s the 24th of May This Year?

Is there any more Canadian saying? Sometimes it confuses our international visitors, there can be no doubt! The name by which our unofficial kick off to summer is often known has its roots in the actual birthday of Queen Victoria who was born on May 24th, 1819 – 200 years ago this month! Victoria was regarded as the “Mother of Confederation”, a woman who ruled an empire “on which the sun never set”…and someone for whom a delicious cake was named! Still popular today in Britain, Victoria Sponge is modeled on a treat which the queen was said to have very much enjoyed during her lifetime. Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861 included this recipe for the popular tea time sweet:

Ingredients: Four eggs; their weight in pounded sugar, butter, and flour, a quarter of a saltspoonful of salt, a layer of any kind of jam or marmalade.

Method: Beat the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour and pounded sugar; stir these ingredients well together and add the eggs, which should be previously thoroughly whisked. When the mixture has been well beaten for about ten minutes, butter a Yorkshire-pudding tin, pour in the batter and make it in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool, spread one half of the cake with a layer of nice preserve, place over it the other half of the cake, press the pieces slightly together and then cut it into long finger-pieces; pile them in crossbars on a glass dish and serve.

Time: 20mins. Average cost: 1s, 3d. Sufficient for five or six persons. Seasonable at any time.