With Mother’s day just around the corner I can’t think of a better excuse to get into the kitchen and bake this Classic Victoria Sponge Cake. Or, preferably drop some rather large hints and get someone else to bake you the cake!
Despite it’s name Victoria Sponge Cake is not a true sponge as it contains fat. A true sponge, as that seen in a Swiss roll sponge contains just eggs, sugar and flour.
I make lots of cakes and this is one of my all time favourites. I never get bored of the pure simplicity of a Classic Victoria Sponge Cake. This recipe, taken from The River Cottage Handbook No.8, titled Cakes by Pam Corbin, is one of my favourite go to recipes for a Classic Victoria Sponge Cake. This recipe seems to be based on the very traditional Women’s Institute recipe which uses self raising flour and no extra baking powder. You will find many recipes include an additional teaspoon of baking powder. As you can see this is entirely optional as your cake will rise just fine without the extra baking powder. However, if you would like a taller cake then by all means add a teaspoon.
However gratifyingly quick it may be using the all in one method, the gradual whisking in of ingredients should help produce you a much lighter and fluffier cake. The all in one method tends to produce a denser, chewier texture. The consistency should be light and delicate. Moist and not too sweet which is perfectly balanced with a fruity jam such a strawberry or raspberry. Some choose to add whipped cream to the filling and others like a the more sweet & sickly buttercream. Here I’ve used just jam.
I found that by adding a little milk to the mix (a trick Nigella uses a lot in her baking), helps to loosen up the mix to give a better dropping consistency.
Now, I don’t admit this to everyone, but I did once eat a whole victoria sponge cake all by myself – in one sitting! Ok, it was a one of those smallish ones you get from Marks & Spencer’s in a box. I was heavily pregnant with my first child and had come back to England from China to give birth. I spend five weeks in the UK before she was born and had an absolute feast satisfying all my food cravings that had been suppressed whilst enduring pregnancy in Beijing for the past eight months.
What’s your favourite classic cake?
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Classic Victoria Sponge Cake
A light and airy Classic Victoria Sponge Cake, filled with strawberry jam and dusted with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp salt a pinch
- 175 g unsalted butter cut into small pieces and softened
- 175 g sugar castor
- 3 eggs at room temperature, weighing about 175g total. If your egg weight is less than 175g use 2 x 18cm sandwich tins rather than 20cm
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 1 -2 tbsp icing sugar or caster sugar to sprinkle on top
- 3-4 tbsp jam strawberry or raspberry
- 140 g icing sugar sieved
- 100 g butter softened
- 0.5 tsp Vanilla extract
You will need 2 x 20cm sandwich tins or a 23cm round tin, lightly greased and lined with baking parchment. If your egg weight is less than 175g use 2 x 18cm sandwich tins rather than 20cm.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Sift flour and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter to a cream, using a wooden spoon or electric whisk.
Add the castor sugar to the creamed butter mixture and continue to beat until the mixture is very light and creamy. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on whether you're using hand or electric whisk.
Whisk until all the sugar is be mixed in until smooth and fluffy.
Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add an egg and 1 tbsp of the previously weighed out flour. Beat thoroughly before adding the next egg and next tbsp of flour.
Add in 1 tsp of vanilla extract with the last of the eggs and beat. If you feel you need to loosen up your mixture add a couple of tablespoons of milk at this stage.
Distribute the mix evenly between the two sandwich tins. Spread out evenly with the back of the spoon or spatula and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and springs back when gently pressed with a finger.
Leave the cake tin the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Let the cakes cool completely before adding the filling of your choice.
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar.
Then add in the vanilla extract.
Spread one layer with the jam or lemon curd and the other layer with the buttercream, place both layers together to form a sandwich. Dust the top with icing or castor sugar.
The cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.