One of the first cakes I learnt to bake and would go back to time and time again was the Victoria Sponge. It is a British classic and named after Queen Victoria. The beauty of it is it’s so simple, and takes no time to make, yet it tastes heavenly if you get it right.
Key things to get it right:
- Moistness – let’s face it there’s nothing worse than a dry sponge. It should be light and yet slightly moist. Don’t overcook.
- Right amount of filling – I failed slightly on this in a recent one I made – too much cream and slicing it makes your cake turn into the leaning tower of Piza.
- Good creamy consistency for your butter/sugar mixture – just ensure you use a good mixer to get the butter and sugar to a light and creamy texture. Mix your butter only when it is at room temperature.
Now, I used to always stick with my mother’s (and then mine when I got my own) Good Housekeeping Guide Cookbook recipe and I knew it off by heart. I have found a modernised version online but it’s not completely the same – I don’t think milk is not necessary unless you find the eggs you’ve used are too small and the batter seems too dry.
So here is MY version, based on the Good Housekeeping one:
- 225g butter (NB: I use unsalted)
- 225g self-raising flour
- 225g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup jam (NB: don’t have ones that have lots of gloops or big lumps of fruit) – strawberry is the tradition but you can use most ‘red’ jams. I used raspberry and rhubarb in a recent one and it was lovely.
- 250ml thick cream (double cream) – or pre-whipped
- Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Lightly grease two sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
Put the butter and caster sugar into a large bowl and beat together, preferably using an electric mixer/whisk – until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition (if the mixture looks as if it might curdle, mix in a few tablespoons of the flour).
Sift over the flour and mix (I do all mine in the mix master but you can use a metal spoon here if doing by hand). If you need milk, add here.
Divide the mixture equally between the sandwich tins and level the surface of each.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cakes are golden and spring back when lightly pressed – test that the middle is not still wet.
Once removed from the over, leave cakes to cool in tins for 5 minutes before removing from tins and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Once almost completely cool, you can remove the baking paper if it is stuck to the base of the cakes.
Spread the jam over the top of one of the sponge cakes. Next, lightly whip the double cream in a medium bowl and dollop over the jam layer. Top with the remaining sponge cake and dust with icing sugar. Serve in slices.