Victoria Sponge

I remember Victoria Sponge cake being one of the first cakes I attempted to make by myself when I was younger, it’s what got me into baking. My mum had clipped the recipe out of a magazine for me and the measurements were in ounces. The outcome wasn’t too bad but it was a little bit meh – it was dense and the flavour always had a heavy eggy undertone, so I soon stopped making it.

Fast forward around seventeen years. One of my managers at work brought in the loveliest Victoria Sponge I’d ever tasted. It had the lightest texture and I soon fell in love with the cake once again. I decided to go on a quest to learn how to make it properly.

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The cake itself is easy to make and consists of a few simple ingredients, but I found that the true magic of the cake comes from the technique in which the ingredients are brought together. I will explain this in the “Tips” section below.


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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Unsalted Butter: This needs to be at room temperature to prevent the mixture from splitting/curdling.
  • Caster Sugar: Most Victoria Sponge recipes call for equal parts flour, sugar and butter, however I like mine a little less sweet. Therefore I reduce the sugar by around one third, since some of the sweetness will also come from the jam filling.
  • Eggs: This binds the ingredients together. It is also important for the eggs to be at room temperature to prevent curdling.
  • Self-raising flower: This is the base ingredient of the cake. Self-raising flour gives the perfect amount of rise.

How To Make Victoria Sponge

Step One: Preheat your oven to 150 °C fan (170 °C conventional / gas mark 4 / 338 °F).

Step Two: Grease and line two 18 cm round cake tins.

Step Three: Cream together 160 g unsalted butter, 1.5 tsp vanilla extract and 110 g caster sugar until light and fluffy.

Step Four: Add 3 beaten medium eggs to the sugar, butter and vanilla mixture one tablespoon at a time, mixing well between each addition of egg.

Step Five: Sift 160 g self-raising flour on top and fold it into the mixture using a wooden spoon.

Step Six: Divide the batter between the two prepared cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you press lightly on the top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Step Seven: Leave the cakes to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin and removing the baking paper. Leave cakes to cool on a wire rack.

Step Eight: Spread 125 g smooth strawberry jam on top of one of the cakes then top with 50 ml whipped double cream, before placing the other cake on top. Finally, sift 1 tbsp icing sugar over the top.

How To Serve Victoria Sponge

  • Serve with tea or coffee.

Tips for Making Victoria Sponge

Follow these 4 key tips to get the best results.

  • Tip 1: Ensure that the eggs and the butter are at room temperature before making the cake batter. This stops the batter from curdling. Curdled cake batter prevents the cake from rising adequately and results in crumbly cake.
  • Tip 2: Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. It’s really worth using an electric mixer for this step. Now this doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – I made this successfully with a simple Silver Crest hand mixer from Lidl which served me well for a number of years. However, I recently upgraded to a Russell Hobbs 24672 Desire Hand Mixer, which I love – it’s a little quieter and more compact, but is still reasonably priced.
  • Tip 3: If the mixture does start to split/curdle when the eggs are added then I fix this by putting the mixture in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
  • Tip 4: When adding the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture add it in a little at a time and mix well. Around one to two tablespoons of egg at a time is ideal. The mixing in between each addition aerates the cake batter which helps to produce that light and fluffy texture when baked.
  • Tip 5: Sift the flour and fold it in to the batter gently, this helps retain the air in the cake, again for that light fluffy texture at the end.

Victoria Sponge Recipe


Serves:
8
Preparation Time:
15 minutes
Baking Time:
30 – 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the sponge cake:

  • 160 g unsalted butter
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160 g self-raising flour sifted
  • 3 medium eggs beaten

For the filling:

  • 125 g smooth strawberry jam
  • 50 ml double cream whipped
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 150 °C fan (170 °C conventional / gas mark 4 / 338 °F).
  2. Grease and line two 18 cm round cake tins. I would recommend the MasterClass 18 cm Deep Cake Tin which is superb quality.
  3. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg to the sugar, butter and vanilla mixture one tablespoon at a time, mixing well between each addition of egg.
  5. Pour the flour in and fold into the mixture using a wooden spoon.
  6. Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you press lightly on the top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cakes to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin and removing the baking paper. Leave cakes to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Spread jam on top of one of the cakes then top with the cream, before placing the other cake on top. Finally, sift the icing sugar over the top.

NOTES

  • Most Victoria Sponge recipes use equal parts sugar, butter and flour, but I find this too sweet. In my version I’ve reduced the sugar by about a third since the jam also adds some sweetness.
  • I use Hartley’s Seedless Strawberry Jam for the filling.
  • I’m not that big on dairy so I substitute the cream with Elmlea Plant Double Cream Alternative. It has a lovely rich creamy taste and whips really well. It also has less fat than regular double cream, if you’d like to save some calories (I know it’s cake, but if it can taste great and be healthier that’s always a win in my book).

10 Essential Ingredients You Need In Your Kitchen

During lockdown so many of my habits changed, especially when it came to food and cooking. Like many, I found myself cooking more, but shopping for food less. We decided to do one food shop for the week and we had it delivered to our home to try to minimise our chances of getting Covid-19. This meant the items on our shopping list had to be carefully chosen to last a whole week.

I actually feel really guilty for admitting this, but after having grown up used to the freedom and convenience of being able to obtain food round the clock pre-lockdown, the thought that I was going to be even just the tiniest bit restricted really stressed me out. I know, this is such a first world issue, but it did make me feel really uneasy. I soon identified that there were a few versatile ingredients that my family and I started use more in our new cooking habits. Ingredients that we maybe would have only used occasionally in our pre-lockdown days. Making sure that these ingredients were always at hand somehow helped to ease my stress. It meant that if there was something we fancied during the week that we hadn’t planned for in the shopping then it was likely that we could make it from scratch.

Now that lockdown measures have eased I still find myself ensuring that a few choice items are always in stock in my kitchen. You might already keep these ingredients in stock but might not have thought about their multiple purposes. So, with that said, I hope this list gives you some inspiration and helps you feel less anxious, especially with the prospect of local lockdowns here in the UK during the winter season.


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10 Essential Ingredients You Need In Your Kitchen

1. Lemon

Lemon is such a versatile fruit. I use it in marinades, sauces, salad dressings and I use the zest in cakes. Also, because I always struggle to drink my 2 litres of water a day I find that adding one or two slices of lemon to my water helps me to drink more.

2. Garlic

I’m a HUGE garlic lover – it’s my ultimate favourite cooking ingredient and I use it as a base in most of my savoury dishes. It adds such huge depth of flavour to many foods. I always make sure I have plenty of fresh garlic around which is great for sautéing with onions for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. I also have plenty of garlic powder around which I like to use in meat or fish marinades (I find that fresh garlic marinades can sometimes burn during the cooking process). I also have a garlic grinder which contains garlic flakes – this is great as a topping on salads. As well as being so tasty garlic has a wide array of health benefits including reducing high blood pressure, so it’s a double win (the only downside is garlic breath).

3. Yeast

This is a must for making an array of breads. I also use it for making pizza dough, naan and cinnamon rolls.

4. Unsalted Butter

I always have this in stock in case we fancy something sweet like cake or cookies 😊 It is also great for when you want to get a rich indulgent flavour from some savoury dishes that you just can’t get from cooking with olive or vegetable oil. Dishes such as scrambled egg, steak, sautéed leeks or mushrooms, and of course the mighty roast potato.

5. Cheese

My cheese of choice is cheddar. It’s great in sandwiches and scrambled eggs, omelets, as well as for topping baked potatoes, cottage/shepherds pies or pizza.

6. Ginger

I use ginger to add a zing to curries and other Asian inspired dishes. Also, as cold and flu season is upon us this is a crucial ingredient to have around for making a ginger, lemon and honey tea remedy to fight those nasty bugs.

7. Onion

Like garlic, this can be sautéed and used as a base for savoury dishes. You can use sliced onion as a pizza topping to amplify the flavours. There is also an array of fresh salads that can be made with finely chopped onion: add it to leafy green salads, you can mix it with mashed avocado to make home made guacamole, or you can add it to freshly chopped tomatoes to make your own salsa.

8. Plain Flour

If you enjoy baking then flour is a definite must-have for most cakes and breads. You can also use it to thicken sauces, and make Yorkshire puddings. If you’ve run out of bread and need to bake a loaf but don’t have strong bread flour in stock then plain flour can be used as a substitute. The loaf will rise well but it just won’t be quite as dense or as chewy as it would with the bread flour. You can also make your own self raising flour for cakes by adding half a teaspoon of baking powder for every 100 g of plain flour.

9. Vanilla Essence

This ingredient doesn’t just have to be used in cakes. You can use it to flavour tea, I love red bush tea with vanilla. I also make my own vanilla lattes, by adding a couple of drops of vanilla essence to my coffee.

10. Ground Cinnamon

This is great for adding flavour to porridge, and cakes. I also sprinkle it on coffee and use a little in my curry paste when I make Indian-style curries.

So there you have it, the top 10 versatile ingredients I always have in stock in my kitchen. Do they cover your cooking habits? Do leave a comment and share your key ingredients.