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A cake to celebrate a royal wedding

Victoria sponge cake with rose petal jam is a classic British dessert.

By The Runaway Spoon / April 26, 2011

Victoria sponge cake is favorite tea time treat and makes a lovely dessert. It’s simple to make but spectacular to present. Rosewater is a festive touch to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

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I could not let the grand occasion of the Royal Wedding go pass without remark. I have always been enamored of all things royal. I get that from my grandmother, who was an avid follower. She knew her royal history and loved to read the latest updates on the British royal family’s lives. I used to bring her copies of Majesty magazine from my trips to England, and she loved to leaf through the pages and comment on each picture.

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I remember the excitement over Prince Charles’ wedding when I was a girl. My mom and I woke up to watch it, and oohed and ahead when the voluminous dress appeared from the carriage. And I might as well mention that when I was a student at Oxford I quite by accident shook hands with Princess Diana. She was doing a “walkabout” in town, why I never found out, and the barricades where set up directly across from my college. I couldn’t get into the college to study, so I set up at the barrier and was right in front when she came by, so I got to shake hands and have a few words with her. I don’t know why that memory pleases me.

Then, a few years ago, I arrived in London on an early flight and couldn’t get into my flat, so I took a little bus ride and got stopped in traffic at St. Paul’s, which was cordoned off, with crowds gathered. I got off the bus and walked around the side of the cathedral and asked a policeman what the hubbub was all about. He pointed to the steps right in front of me and said “Her Majesty.” Out walked the Queen, Prince Phillip and all the dignitaries of London in full gowns and regalia. They walked down the steps got in the Rolls Royce and drove right past me. I managed to snap a few blurry pictures on my phone.

I called an English friend and marveled that in 20 years of visiting England, I’d never seen the Queen, and she immediately remarked “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen the Queen!” It was a great surprise moment for me.

So to celebrate, I present this classic British dessert, the Victoria Sponge. It’s a favorite tea time treat and makes a lovely dessert. It’s simple to make but spectacular to present. I’ve dressed it up here for the wedding with rose petal jam and rosewater, but don’t be too rigid with this cake. Strawberry or raspberry jam work wonderfully, and are a bit more traditional. You can leave out the rosewater if you prefer.

(See next page for Victoria Sponge Cake recipe)

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