The whole nation it seems has gone crazy for baking traditional British cakes and buns with the classic Victoria Sponge right at the top of the list. The delicate sponge filled with jam and cream is the stuff of village fetes and the WI, and fierce competition abounds for who can create the lightest, softest sponge.
A secret though, it’s not that difficult just check out the tips below and follow the quick and easy recipe and you are on to a winner.
- 3 large free-range eggs at room temperature
- 225g (8oz) caster sugar,
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour + 2 tsp baking powder sifted together
- 125g (4oz) softened butter
- 100g (3 oz) margarine
- A jar of good quality strawberry jam
- 200ml (7 fl oz) whipping cream, whipped to firm peaks
Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Lightly grease 2 x 20cm (8”) sandwich tins. Line the bottom with lightly greased baking parchment.
- Using a stand mixer, or electric hand mixer, mix together the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder plus the softened butter and margarine until completely combined. The mixture should be a soft, dropping consistency. If you don’t’ have an electric mixer use a wooden spoon.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two cake tins. Lightly smooth the surface of the cake and pop them onto the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Cook for 25 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and golden brown on the surface. If the cakes are browning too quickly lower the temperature just slightly but do not be tempted to open the door.
- Once they are risen and brown you can open the door to check by gently pressing the centre of the cake it should spring back easily. Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes the cakes should be shrinking away from the sides of the cake tins. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool completely on the cooling rack.
- Once cooled, place one cake cooked side down onto a plate. Cover with a thick layer of strawberry jam followed by an even thicker layer of whipped cream. Top with the second cake. Dredge with the icing sugar, and decorate with fresh strawberries if you wish. Serve with a nice cup of tea.
What is a Victoria Sponge?
The Victoria Sponge was named after Queen Victoria as reputably it was her favourite cake. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who has been given credit for introducing the charming art of the Afternoon Tea was Lady in Waiting to the Queen who quickly adopted the custom serving sponge cakes as part of the tea.
The present Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, is also partial to a slice of the cake and the Victoria Sponge and this favourite cake was served at celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, June 2012.