However, we have an American guest who I know loves it, and I thought I'd make one as a welcoming gesture, and actually took the trouble to find out more. One thing it isn't, is a standard victoria sandwich cake!
I've adapted a recipe found on the internet (there's loads out there) because I had to use substitutions for some of the ingredients. I am a complete convert to the RVC and have printed my version below. It is very light, very moist, not too rich, soft, and keeps well. Recipe is under photographs.
You will need 3x 8" cake tins, lined and greased. Preheat the oven to 160C for a fan oven, 180C if not. I think that's gas 4.
Ingredients300 grms of muscovado sugar (you can use other sugars but this soft brown sugar gives a bit of fudginess)
2 large eggs
240 ml of vegetable oil. You can use sunflower oil but nothing else - definitely not olive oil or nut oils!
Red food colouring. (You have to be a bit brave - use a gel colouring if possible but if not go with what you have. I used half a small bottle and it's not exactly red is it!)
250g plain flour
1 1/4 tsps of bicarbonate of soda
40 grms of good cocoa powder
1/2 tblsp vanilla extract
100 ml of coffee
1/2 tblsp white wine vinegar
Sieve the flour, bicarb and cocoa into a large bowl.
In another bowl add the oil, eggs, and colouring and whisk for a couple of minutes until slightly lighter in colour and thicker.
Sieve in half the flour mix and lightly whisk. Add coffee, vinegar and buttermilk and beat together. Fold in the remaining flour. Pour the mix into the 3 tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes until done. The cakes will spring back to a light touch when done.
Frosting175 gms butter at room temperature
400 grms icing sugar
2 x 180 grms of full fat cream cheese (don't use low fat as it's too liquid when mixed)
I'd say this was an essential part of the cake! Whisk the softened butter and add the icing sugar until well mixed and fluffy. Whisk in the cream cheese. I used Philadelphia and all was well, but if your brand makes the icing a bit too runny just pop it back into the fridge to set.
Sandwich together and use any remaining as decoration. I had enough to coat the sides quite thickly.