Happy (holiday) Monday – It’s my first Best of British post! I’m starting with the most British cake of all – the Victoria Sponge – named, as with so many other things, for Queen Victoria. At least the cake has a legit link to the current Queen’s grandmother – Victoria was apparently very partial to a slice of an afternoon (and who isn’t?).
There are a few different viewpoints on what a cake should have to be called a proper Victoria Sponge – generally home baked versions all around the British isles consist of two fluffy cakes sandwiched together with jam, fruit, and either whipped cream or buttercream in the centre, the whole thing decorated with a dusting of icing sugar. According to the Women’s Institute, a proper Victoria Sponge only has raspberry jam (and no cream or buttercream in the centre) and is decorated with a sprinkling of caster sugar. Which is a bit rubbish really cos it’ll just fall right off the cake.
I say make whatever kind of Victoria Sponge makes YOU and your tastebuds happy!
Here’s my recipe, its very easy and simple to make. For a bigger party sized Victoria Sponge (like mine), simply double the quantities -and before you begin, preheat your oven to gas mark 3 / 375F/ 170C
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract or paste
- 175g self raising flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 150g soft unsalted butter
- 400g icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk (whole or semi-skimmed will work)
- 100g washed strawberries, cut into slices
- 3 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam
I used a vanilla buttercream frosting for the middle and top of this cake – not exactly traditional but as I said, your Victoria Sponge should be the one that you want to eat! Some other great filling options are -
Unlike many cake recipes, this one is superduper easy because you just mix everything and beat it up until its combined. There’s no creaming of butter and sugar and you still get a super light and fluffy cake! Just make sure you start (as always) with very soft butter, and sugar with no lumps. I still combined stuff in the usual butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder order but thats just habit. If you had a food processor, you could just chuck it all in!
I baked my cake in a Prestige baking tin and used Dr Oetker cake release spray on the inside – the combination of the spray and the spring-release tin meant that the cake came out of the tin very easily.
The one thing you DO have to be careful of with a Victoria Sponge is that they are super fussy on cooking times and drafty ovens. They DO NOT like having the oven door opened while they’re baking. But even if your cake sinks a bit in the middle like mine, don’t worry. Just cut in half once its cool and hide the sinky half on the inside of the cake.
Once your sponge is out of the oven and completely cool (even better if you can leave it a few hours), use a serrated knife to cut in half. Cover your bottom inside half with jam – I used raspberry and peach jam from the WI – delicious!
Next I added a thin layer of frosting to the top of the cake, plus some strawberries for decoration (annnnnnnnnnd to hide the sunken bit).
So tell me, what filling would your perfect Victoria Sponge have? There’s definitely something refreshing about one with a tart filling or fruit curd but I’m also thinking that something with nutella would be amazing too…