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Recipe for a Traditional Victoria Sponge Cake

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I love trying out new dessert recipes and sharing my findings. Turns out many fancy sweets aren't nearly as hard to make as I once thought!

A Victoria Sponge cake is a great treat to have with afternoon tea.

A Victoria Sponge cake is a great treat to have with afternoon tea.

A traditional Victoria sponge cake is one of my family's favourite treats for afternoon tea, and as well as being delicious, it's incredibly simple to make. It consists of two layers of cake sandwiched together with jam and buttercream. There are variations on the recipe (some people using fresh fruit or cream in the filling), but I am sticking with this recipe passed to me by my grandmother. Of course, she wouldn't be entirely happy with me using an electric mixer, but I like to cut down on preparation time. If you have the inclination, mix everything together by hand in a big bowl using a wooden spoon.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

25 min

35 min

A 6-inch, round cake which will give 6-8 servings

Ingredients for a Victoria Sponge cake.

Ingredients for a Victoria Sponge cake.

Ingredients for the Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup softened butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup caster / superfine sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 cup self-rise flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, (baking soda)
  • 1/4 cup milk, whole fat
  • raspberry jam to fill the cake
  • buttercream to fill the cake

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and prepare two 6-inch round baking tins by greasing and flouring them.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Make sure the sugar is well-mixed with the butter. The texture should be light and fluffy.
  3. Into a separate bowl, crack four eggs, ensuring that you remove any stray pieces of shell. With the mixer on slow speed, add the eggs, one at a time, to the batter. After each egg is added, mix thoroughly to ensure it is incorporated completely before you add the next.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the batter. If you sift the flour a couple of times, you'll get more air into it and the result will be a lighter cake.
  5. Mix until the flour is incorporated and then add the milk and stir.
  6. Divide the cake batter as equally as possible between your two prepared cake pans and put them into the oven for approximately 25 minutes. It's smart to check the cakes after 20 minutes and only give them an additional 5 minutes if necessary. The cakes are ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The sponges should be springy to the touch.
  7. After removing them from the oven, leave the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once completely cooled, spread raspberry jam (or any other kind you like) onto one half. Spread buttercream over the other half of the cake and then carefully sandwich the two layers together. Lightly dust the top with icing (powdered) sugar and serve.

Buttercream Recipe

You can use any buttercream recipe for this cake, but I find it's best not to make the frosting too sweet. Here's my favourite recipe:

  • 1 cup softened butter (unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Simply mix together the ingredients until you have a smooth consistency. It helps if the butter is really soft, and you should sift the icing sugar to get rid of any lumps.

Suggestions for Alternative Fillings

There are hundreds of possibilities for adapting this recipe, but here are some alternative fillings I have used to great effect:

  • Lemon curd and whipped cream.
  • Fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
  • A simple layer of strawberry-flavoured buttercream.
  • Fresh blueberries and vanilla buttercream.

Are you a fan of the Victoria Sponge?

Facts and Tips

  • This cake is named after Queen Victoria, who was said to be a big fan of this simple sponge cake.
  • Sometimes, the cake is called a Victoria Sandwich rather than a Victoria Sponge.
  • Some traditionalists believe that the only filling for a Victoria Sponge should be a layer of jam.
  • This is a great cake to make to introduce your kids to baking because it is so simple.
  • Some modern bakers save time by putting all the ingredients together in a bowl and mixing them all at once rather than going through each step of the mixing process—the results are still very good.
  • This recipe is also great for making cupcakes or as the basis for creating a great chocolate cake—simply add cocoa powder and reduce the amount of flour used.
  • The sponge cake will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, simple allow it to defrost at room temperature and then sandwich the layers together with the filling of your choice.

Comments

Kathy Glasgow on February 23, 2020:

So happy to find this recipe. My daughter is very active in the Society of Ren-Faire. So she will enjoy baking this when they reach this time era Thank you very much

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on July 28, 2012:

Mmmmm - this will go in my must-try-it stack of recipes. I think the moderation on sugar use in England is something we need to adopt here in the U.S. Thanks for sharing this! Voted up and up!

biancalyne on July 24, 2012:

This look amazing! Definitely something I will be trying.

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on July 23, 2012:

Honestly Allie, I was in England in 1984 and found their "sweets" are not nearly as sweet as American sweets. However, your dessert recipes include sugar and sound so good. I'm trying to drop a few pounds so I won't be able to try them until after October when my son's wedding will be.

I can't wait to try these, though. I've saved a few in my favorites!

Kathy from Jordan MN on July 22, 2012:

I will have to try this. It sounds very tasty!

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on July 22, 2012:

Absolute classic. This is the first cake I ever saw (and ate) standing warm and powdered on a metal stand in the kitchen - the cake, not me.

That filling! A big slice of sponge cake and two or three mugs of tea and good company - what could beat that?

Voting up.

Cristale Adams from Florida on July 22, 2012:

Mmm, sounds good and looks filling. I will have to try this!