Victoria Sponge Cake
One of Queen Victoria’s favorite cakes and named in her honor. This beautiful light cake is enjoying a recent revival in popularity due to the television series, Downton Abbey. The Victoria Sponge was as popular in the upstairs drawing room as it was in Mrs Patmore’s kitchen, and in fact Mrs P can be seen serving a Victoria Sponge for afternoon tea in the servant’s hall in one of the early episodes.
A recipe for Victoria Sandwich cake appears in Mrs Beeton’s famous cookery book of 1874 and has changed very little to this day. The cake is very like a butter cake in texture and is not at all like a commercially made snowy white sponge cake. The cake is traditionally served sandwiched together with strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream and is best served on the day it is made. There are many different variations of this cake, but I always make this traditional recipe and it is always the highlight of the tea table. This is the perfect cake for a Downton Abbey themed high tea.
This recipe will provide 8 generous serves.
225 grams self raising flour
4 eggs – at room temperature and lightly beaten
225 grams butter – softened
225 grams caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced
300ml carton whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
150 grams strawberry jam
icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 180 celsius (350F). Butter and line 2 x 19cm round cake tins with baking paper.
Beat the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and light. Beat in the eggs gradually, a little at a time and then fold in the sifted flour and baking powder with a wooden spoon. Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins and spread out gently.
Bake for around 25 minutes until risen and a nice golden brown color and test with a skewer. Allow to cool in tins, on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out on the rack to cool.
For the filling you can warm the jam over a low heat and stir in the strawberries or just spread the jam over one layer of the cake and top with the strawberries. Pour the cream into a bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the top of the strawberries and place the second half of the cake on top, the flat side facing up. Dust with icing sugar and serve.