I think an old-fashioned Victoria sponge makes the perfect birthday cake. My husband celebrated his birthday last week and I decided to make him the sponge AND his favourite, a lemon baked cheesecake. I’ll talk about the cheesecake in another post. This one is all about the wonder that is Victoria sponge.
Who doesn’t love home-made vanilla sponge filled with sweet, luscious jam and lashings of whipped cream?.
Victoria sponge is an old English cake recipe. History has it that Queen Victoria herself fancied a slice of this cake with her afternoon tea. It certainly makes a splendid teatime display; it’s a cake that represents celebration and comfort, both at the same.
The recipe couldn’t be easier and even better – it’s a recipe that once learned, is never forgotten. You see, you measure the eggs in their shells and then just weigh out the exact same amount of butter, sugar and self-raising flour. Have a look at the recipe, you’ll see what I mean.
Now, here’s something interesting before you start…
I used 1 new, modern springform tin and 1 slightly battered, old-school aluminium tin. Have a look at the photo, see the top layer of sponge? It’s taller and fluffier than the base layer. That was the layer cooked in the old, aluminium tin. The exact same amount of batter went into both tins, they went on the same shelf and cooked for the same amount of time yet the thinner tin most definitely gave the better result.
To make 1 x 2 layer 10″ cake.
Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease and line 2 same size, round cake tins with baking paper.
Weigh 4 eggs in their shells. Mine came to 254g so I wrote that down.
Now, I weighed out:
254g of butter
254g of self-raising flour
254g of caster sugar.
In the stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until very whipped, light and creamy.
I added 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract at this stage.
Add your eggs, one at a time and beat in well. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl from time to time.
It might look a bit split and curdled, don’t worry about it.
Sift your flour into the mixture and mix it in. Don’t be too vigorous but no need to be scared of it either.
Here’s the only part you can’t predict. You need to add enough milk to make a batter that drops from your spoon. I needed about a scant cup of milk.
Just add it until the batter seems right to you and drops off the spoon when you lift it up. You don’t want it to run off the spoon and you don’t want it to stick onto the spoon before falling off for too long.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins.
Bake the cakes for around 25 minutes. They are done when they are light golden brown and when you lightly press the centre with your finger the cake springs back and doesn’t sink in to make a dent.
Turn out onto a wire cake to cool.
Whip up about 300ml of cream. I used thick cream, about 48% butterfat so it whipped up really quickly and was thick and rich. I added about a tablespoon of icing sugar while it was whipping.
Put one cake layer onto your serving plate/cake stand and spread over your chosen jam. I decided on strawberry jam and used about just under a cup.
Drop your whipped cream into the centre of the cake, on top of the jam, and using a flat bladed knife, gently push and spread it out towards the edges. Make sure you’ve got an even layer.
Drop the second cake layer on top and gently press into the cream/jam, making it level and centre as you go.
Sift a nice thick layer of icing sugar over top, sit back and wait for the smiles!