#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Thirteen: Victoria Sponge Cake

This week I thought I’d try something a little different for #ThatTranslatorCanCook and opted for a traditionally British recipe but in French! I thought it might be interesting to see how the recipe differs from a British version of the same recipe.

This recipe was generally very straight forward, although I came across some new terms, such as ‘pâte à sucre’ (fondant icing). However, I did have one major issue, both in the translation and cooking…

Crème liquide
I was working under the impression that this referred solely to single cream and was therefore very surprised to see it used in this recipe for whipping! In Britain, most brands of single cream say very specifically that they are not intended for whipping. However, I did a little digging and discovered this discussion on the translators’ website Proz.com, which states that ‘Crème liquide is single cream, but it will whip when it is the full fat version (35% fat) (and it should also be very cold)’ and therefore translated it as single cream.

However, I stupidly didn’t think to check the percentage of single cream in Britain and, despite putting both the cream and the beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes as instructed, my cream wouldn’t whip. So I went back to the drawing board and did a little more research. I discovered that, according to BBC Good Food, single cream in Britain is 18%. This is obviously far lower than that suggested by the user on Proz.com. I then looked into different types of cream in France and found this blogpost. While it doesn’t give a specific percentage for single cream, it does give the percentage for ‘crème légère’ (thin cream), which is 12 to 30%. This leads me to believe that perhaps single cream in France has a higher fat percentage than British single cream? If anyone has any insights into this, I’d love to hear them!

Another thing to bear in mind is that, to my mind at least, a Victoria sponge shouldn’t be filled with cream anyway. I had a look at some British recipes and did discover that Mary Berry uses cream in her recipe. However, I found this other recipe for a ‘classic’ Victoria sponge that uses buttercream instead of whipped cream and in my opinion that is the true Victoria sponge (and tastier!) Again, if you have any thoughts on this, talk to me on social media, contact me via my contact page or comment below.


Cake mix in a glass bowl

As this is a recipe I’m very familiar with, it was very easy to make. I did, however, follow the recipe to a T, which added several steps I wouldn’t normally bother with if I were making a cake without a recipe (creaming the butter before adding the sugar, adding the eggs individually, etc.). The only step I missed was sieving the flour as, er, I don’t have a sieve.

Slice of Victoria sponge  in a bowl with cream

The overall result was very tasty. This recipe did differ again from a traditional Victoria sponge as it suggested using orange zest, which I thought was an interesting take on the classic. As the cream refused to whip properly, I just poured it over the cake and it was very tasty!

Next week: I’m not sure what I’ll be cooking yet, let me know if you have any ideas!

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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