It seems the whole nation has gone crazy for baking traditional British cakes and buns with the classic Victoria sponge cake right at the top of the list.
This delicate sponge cake 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.
It's really no secret nor is it that difficult to make a delectable sponge cake, especially if you check out these tips for a feather-light sponge, and follow this quick-and-easy recipe.
- 3 large free-range eggs at room temperature
- 8 ounces (225 g) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 8 ounces (225 g) self-raising flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder sifted together
- 4 ounces (125 g) softened butter
- 3 ounces (100 g) margarine
- 1 jar good-quality strawberry jam
- 7 ounces (200 ml) heavy whipping cream, whipped to firm peaks
- Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Lightly grease two 8-inch (20 cm) baking pans. 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 of a soft, dropping consistency. If you don’t’ have an electric mixer use a wooden spoon.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the pans. Lightly smooth the surface of the cake and pop them onto the middle shelf of the heated oven.
- Bake 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 center 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 pans. Carefully invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- 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 reputedly it was her favorite cake. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, who has been given credit for introducing the charming art of the afternoon tea was a lady in waiting to the queen who quickly adopted the custom of serving sponge cakes as part of the tea.
The present queen, Queen Elizabeth II, is also partial to a slice of Victoria sponge cake and it was served at celebrations for the Queen's diamond jubilee in June 2012.