The quintessentially British teatime treat, the Victoria Sponge is a beautifully simple cake. Two layers of light moist sponge cake with a filling of jam and whipped cream. No icing or decoration need other than a sprinkle of icing sugar and nice plate. But, what size tins do you have?
Alfred Bird’s invention of Baking Powder in 1843 changed the cake baking game. Sponge cakes had always been quite thin and flat, reliant on the air beaten into eggs to rise them. Baking powder meant the cake could rise much more into the light buttery sponge we know today. In 1844 Henry Jones came along with the invention of Self Raising Flour, originally for sale to the Navy this ingredient became ubiquitous for bakers worldwide. Why Victoria Sponge? The full name is “Royal Victoria Sponge” as it was a favourite of Queen Victoria, who used to enjoy a slice with her afternoon tea when at Osbourne House. She preferred the sponge over the traditional scones.
Our version is very simple and traditional, using the proper ingredients of butter over margarine in the sponge (why use margarine?) and whipped double cream in the filling over buttercream to get as close to the slice Victoria would have enjoyed as we can.
Oh; and we might have solved an age-old annoyance for every home baker.
How often have you pulled out a recipe and it demands a cake tin you just don’t have? 20cm, 28cm, 9 inch, 12 inch all get asked for. I even found one that asked for a 7 ½ inch high sided loose bottomed non-stick tin once (at that point I decided to cook something else). So, you try and scale up or down, or think “it’s only a couple of inches off” and carry on, wondering how it’s going to turn out.
So this recipe is scalable, starting at the 8 inch tins we have also shown the increase per 2 inch increments of tin size. From there it’s much easier, you can make a 16 inch Royal Victoria Sponge if you so wish!
For an 8” diameter sponge:
300g Self Raising Flour
300g Caster Sugar
300g Unsalted Butter, softened
4 x Large eggs
4 x tbsp milk (any kind)
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste or essence (paste is better)
If you only have one tin use half of the above and cook two separately.
For every additional 2” on the tin:
75g Self Raising Flour
75g Caster Sugar
75g Unsalted Butter, softened
1 x Large eggs
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp Vanilla bean paste or essence (paste is better)
Add 5 – 7 minutes to the cooking time.
For the filling:
Double Cream whipped to spreading consistency
Good quality fruit Jam – we use Strawberry
Replace the vanilla with the zest of a lemon or orange and use lemon curd or cooked apple instead of the cream.
1. Preheat fan oven to 160 degrees with shelves positioned in the centre.
2. Lightly grease the cake tin with butter.
3. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of mixer with the whisk attachment on, or in a mixing bowl if you are using and electric hand whisk.
4. Whisk together until smooth and the colour lightens
5. Poor into the cake tins.
6. Push the mix very lightly from the centre of the tin towards the outside, this will give you a flatter top to your sponges.
7. Place in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until golden brown on the top. When cooked they will spring back to the fingertip touch.
8. Remove to cool, the sponge will shrink away from the tin, and you can then take it out and cool on a wire rack.
9. When both are cooked and completely cool, choose the one with the best top, turn upside down and spread with the cream to your desired thickness, about ¼ of an inch is good. Keep about ¼ inch from the edge so it can spread one you assemble.
10. Please the other one on a plate or cake stand and spread with the jam, staying about ¼ inch from the edge.
11. Put the two together, and dust with icing sugar if you like.
Little Grey Dog Tip – these sponges freeze very well. Nothing is the same as a freshy made one, but you can freeze if you want.