Classic Victoria sponge cake (Victoria sandwich) – the classic British tea time treat; simple yet elegant, it can’t be beaten! This traditional cake is perfect for Birthdays, celebrations or Afternoon tea.
After several years of complaining about my oven burning everything I put in it, resulting in much swearing, frustration and strategic placement of icing/fruit/chocolate/props to hide the burnt bits, I finally have a lovely new oven! A range cooker in fact, so I have loads of space for baking and cooking and it looks pretty sexy!
I wasn’t sure what the first cake I made in it should be, but I read somewhere that Mary Berry’s first job was showing customers how to use their new electric ovens, which she did by baking a Victoria sponge cake; so I thought that that would be a perfect way to test my new oven out.
And guess what; IT DIDN’T BURN! There is going to be a lot less swearing in the kitchen from now on…
What Is Victoria Sponge Cake?:
Victoria sponge cake, also known as Victoria sandwich, is the quintessential British cake. It is named after queen Victoria, who reportedly liked a slice with her afternoon tea.
It is comprised of two layers of buttery vanilla cake filled with jam and cream or buttercream. It is often baked as a birthday cake, for afternoon tea, or just because it’s Tuesday.
A Victoria sponge cake is an absolute classic; simple, but elegant; and the perfect cake to enjoy with a pot of tea in the afternoon.
How To Make Victoria Sponge Cake:
There are a couple of different ways to make a classic Victoria sandwich, but I like to use the method where you weigh your eggs (in their shells), then use the same weight of each self-raising flour, butter and sugar.
For example, my four eggs for this cake weighed a total of 246 grams (weighed in their shells); so I used 246g of butter, 246g of sugar and 246g of flour.
This method is effective because there is a lot of variation in the weight of eggs, so if you weigh them and base your recipe off of that then it is guaranteed to be perfectly balanced.
It may be a little more of an unusual method than you may be used to, but I think that it makes for the best Victoria sponge cake!
How To Decorate Victoria Sponge Cake:
Purists will say that a Victoria sponge should be filled with nothing but jam, but I like a little bit of vanilla buttercream in mine as well. And a sprinkling of caster sugar on top to complete the look. You can use a dusting of icing sugar instead if you like; both are traditional.
You can obviously omit the buttercream if you prefer, or use whipped cream instead, this is a delicious cake however you want to serve it (it should however always, ALWAYS be accompanied by tea!).
How To Store It:
This cake is best eaten on the day it is baked, but it will keep in an airtight container for up to a couple of days.
You can also freeze the uniced cake layers for up to three months – wrap them separately with tin foil. Allow to defrost at room temperature as needed.
Make It Vegan!:
I also have a delicious (and easy!) recipe for vegan Victoria sponge cake; give it a try if you are avoiding eggs and dairy.
More Classic Cake Recipes:
- Lemon and ginger drizzle cake
- Simple wholemeal apple cake
- Toffee apple gingerbread
- Chocolate layer cake
- Carrot, pineapple and pistachio cake
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Victoria Sponge Cake
- 4 large eggs, weighed in their shells
- softened butter
- caster sugar
- self-raising flour sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- a drop of milk if needed
- about 5 heaped tbsp jam (raspberry or strawberry)
- 100 g softened butter
- 200 g icing sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- caster sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm round tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
Weigh the eggs in their shells then measure out the same weight of each butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour.
Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each one and mixing well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla extract (if using)
Sift together the remaining flour, the baking powder and salt. Add it to the bowl and fold in gently by hand.
Add enough milk so that the mixture drops slowly off a spoon but doesn't run off.
Divide the batter evenly between the tins and spread it level. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and well risen, a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, mix together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp milk on a low speed until combined then turn up the mixer to a high speed and whisk for a good few minutes until extremely light, pale and fluffy. Add a drop more milk if it seems too stiff.
Reserve the better looking cake layer and level the top of the other if needed. Place it on a serving platter or cake stand and spread with a generous layer of jam.
Transfer the buttercream to a disposable piping bag and snip off the tip (or place in a bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle). Pipe dollops of the buttercream on top of the jam then gently place the other cake layer on top. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar then serve.