A large beautiful luscious piece of a Classic British Victoria Sponge Cake sandwiched with Whipped Cream & Strawberry Jam and a steaming cup full of Darjeeling tea on the side table, a crime thriller in my hands; this is my kind of ideal lazy evening. You can replace the thriller with George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the novel behind the popular tv series Game of Thrones. Remember? Of course you do, silly me! Anyways, that’s my current favourite and I won’t put it down until I finish the fifth book (I’m still stuck in book one, poor me). Back on the track of food, Victoria Sponge is a classic British cake which is light, buttery & sweet pound cake. This airy sponge cake was a regular tea accompaniment of Queen Victoria. Hence the name Victoria Sponge was introduced.
Victorian Cake is nothing but a sandwich cake made with basic sponge or pound cake and whipped double cream or vanilla cream with seasonal fruit jam like strawberry jam or raspberry jam. The cream and jam are layered between two sponge cakes and then pressed together lightly to form the sandwich. Often this royal cake is dusted with icing sugar or caster sugar on top. Sometimes further decoration is done with chopped fresh strawberries. But mostly this Victoria Sandwich Cake is enjoyed with tea, so no further décor with cream or frosting is popular.
Often British sponge cake is referred as pound cake in American recipes but there is a tiny fundamental difference present between them. Firstly, sponge cake is airy, light but pound cake is dense & rich though both cakes are buttery and smooth. Secondly, sponge cake requires flour, butter, sugar, eggs and most importantly baking powder as rising agent but pound cake needs only flour, butter, sugar and eggs in 1:1:1:1 ratio. No rising agents are required in pound cake. Victoria Sandwich cake requires flour, butter, sugar and eggs in 1:1:1:1 ratio but no rising agents. Hence we can say Victorian Sponge is a pound cake or in other words it’s a British sponge without rising agent.
Here is my video recipe of Classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cakefor you all.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking/Active Time: 40 mins
Resting/Inactive time: 10 mins
Total Time: 60 mins
Yield: 6-8 servings (two 8” or 6” round cake)
Read the entire recipe and tips carefully before you start cooking.
Do make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (unless mentioned) and weighed or measured correctly in appropriate weighing machine or measuring instruments such as cups or spoons. Remember these are not your regular cups or spoons which you use in your daily life.
For Victoria Sponge cake:
(The measurements mentioned here will yield two 6” or 8” round cakes)
All-purpose flour: 225g or 2 cups + 1 tbsp (for dusting)
Sugar, powdered: 225g or 1 cup (See Tips)
Margarine or Butter: 225g or 1 cup + 1 tbsp (for greasing) (See Tips)
Egg: 4 large, at room temperature
Vanilla extract: 2 tsp
Whipping Cream: 1 cup (half & half cream/heavy cream or any dairy free cream will also work fine)
Caster sugar: 1 tbsp
Homemade (or store bought) Strawberry Jam: 6-8 tbsp
Icing Sugar for dusting
Handful of fresh strawberries, cut into halves
Large mixing bowls
Small mixing bowls
8” Bundt pan
Before starting the prep work, one should keep one thing in mind that this is a delicious cake with quite a lengthy process. So one has to be patient and organized; otherwise entire hard work will end up in a big fat mess.
Always start with mixing &sifting dry ingredients. In a large bowl sieve and sift flour (reserve 1 tbsp) & baking powder together. Repeat the process one more time. Keep aside until needed. (See Tips)
Cream butter (reserve 1 tbsp) and sugar together with electric beater until it becomes fluffy and pale in color. (See Tips)
As I used granulated sugar, so my mixture took almost 4-5 mins to blend nicely. It’s always better to take 5 mins out and powder your sugar before you start baking, lesson learned in a hard way! (See Tips)
Add eggs one by one (one at time) and continue beating. Take care not to overbeat.
Add vanilla extract and mix very gently without disturbing the aeration.
Sieve & sift the flour mixture into the batter and gently fold with a rubber spatula until there is no visibility of flour. Make sure there are no lumps at all. (See Tips)
Grease the pan with softened butter and dust the same with reserved flour. Tap off the excess flour. (See Tips)
Fill the 3/4thof a 6” or 8” round baking pan with the batter or distribute cake batter equally into two 6” or 8” round baking pans. Level the top with the spatula for even rising. And tap the pan few times on the kitchen counter to get rid of air bubbles, if exists any. Poke in the middle of the batter with a spatula slightly; it will prevent cracking in the middle of the cake. (See Tips)
This cake will be two medium tall layered so the sponge needs to be baked for longer period on low temperature, if you are baking two cakes together. It will ensure a nice evenly baked cake without any burning on the top or sides. But if you have a small oven like me, bake one large cake which you need to slice horizontally later or bake two cakes separately.
Bake each cake in preheated (1600C) oven for 30-40 mins at 1600C; then, lower the temperature to 1400Cand bake for another 10 mins (depending on your oven) or until a skewer comes out with clean crumbs when inserted in the middle of the cake. (See Tips)
Remove the cake from oven and set on wire rack to cool down for 10-15 mins. Once it is easy to handle, run a blunt kitchen knife around the side of the pan and gently tap it few times on the kitchen counter to loosen up the sides and remove the cake from pan. (See Tips)
While the cake is cooling, prepare the Whipped Cream Filling.
Take the cream in a large clean & dry bowl, if there is water/vapor, cream won’t be whipped easily. Now sprinkle the icing sugar on the top of the cream and start whipping with electric/manual whisk until the cream is ready with soft peaks. (See Tips)
Now is the fun part, layering the cake.
Once cakes come to room temperature, cut off the top and level the same. And also cut the cakes in to halves, horizontally.
Place the bottom layer of a cake on the cake stand in the center. Dump 3-4 tbsp of Strawberry Rose Jam on it & spread evenly with an offset spatula. When a thin layer jam is spread evenly to cover the crumbs, add another 2-3 tbsp of Strawberry Rose Jam and spread as evenly as possible.
Dump ½ cup of the whipped cream with soft peak and spread evenly with spatula. Or use a piping bag to cover the top with whipping cream, I personally feel this is always a nicer and cleaner option. (See Tips)
Gently place the other half of the cake on the top. Don’t forget to check the alignment correctly otherwise the tower will fall down on the face and your cake will be defeated even before the war 😉
Take 1-2 tbsp of powdered sugar or caster sugar (whichever you can find handy) and dust on top of the cake.
Your cake is ready to dive in with fork & knife, British style or just bare hands desi style. But if you want to decorate it more go ahead and flaunt your creativity. As I was looking for simple tea cake just the way Queen prefers, I dint dare to spoil it.
This medium sized cake is perfectly capable to satisfy 8-12 persons. Excess cake can be refrigerated in airtight container. Taste will be good upto 2-3 days.
1. It is okay to add little less sugar than the specified measurement but never add more. If you add less sugar your cake will be puffy and yes little less sweet but that will hardly make any differences if you are having perfect spongy cake with sugar frosting like this. But more sugar not only spoils your taste it will also produce soggy and lumpy cake.
2. I always use regular salted margarine but my mother never use anything but while butter without salt.
3. Sifting and re-sifting the dry ingredients will make sure puffy and light cake after baking.
4. Don’t overbeat the butter & sugar. This will yield grainy texture and cake won’t be as fluffy as expected.
5. Always powder your sugar before you start baking. There is no harm in using granulated sugar but it will take more time to incorporate all the ingredients while mixing which often produces curdled mixture, resulting dense heavy chewy cake, not light, the way we love our cakes.
6. Mix flour with other ingredients in shape of ‘8’; be slow be gentle. Mixture can be over mixed in a jiffy which can produce hard dense cake.
7. Greasing and dusting the baking pan will make sure that cake won’t stick to it while baking.
8. Tapping the baking pan with mixture will help to release air bubbles from inside the batter, if any forms. And the batter will be spread evenly in the pan.
9. Keep checking after initial time specified. It may take 10-15 mins more depending on your oven.
10. Sometimes top of the cake gets the perfect brown color but inside still remains jiggy. Don’t worry about it. Cover the top with a heavy duty foil and continue baking for 10-15 mins more. This will prevent the top from over baking or burning while inside of the cake will continue to bake.
11. Don’t touch or try to cut the cake while it is hot. It is damn fragile now. Allow it to cool. Once it is cooled it will be firm.
12. Keep the whipped cream in clean & dry glass bowl and cover it with cling film until needed. Remember, less air contact means better taste.
13. While spreading the filling between layers, remember to leave ½” on the sides. When the layers will be done, filling will be spread automatically by the pressure.
14. If you are not in hurry it is advisable to refrigerate (do not freeze) the cake for 1 hr. It will help to set the entire cake.
15. First allow to set the cake then go with more garnishing.
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