Did you know that the Victoria Sponge Cake is named after Queen Victoria? Supposedly, Victoria, who reigned as the Queen of Great Britain from 1837 to 1901, liked to have a slice of this cake with her afternoon tea. Certainly her 5o inch girth in her later years seems to support this rumor!
Victoria Sponge Cake, or Victoria Sandwich Cake as it is often called, is a light and airy cake. It is filled with a layer of strawberry or raspberry jam and often cream or buttercream. In Queen Victoria’s time the sponge would only have been filled with jam. It was only in the 20th Century that the addition of cream or buttercream became more commonplace.
Ask almost anyone who bakes in England and they will have their favorite Victoria Sponge recipe. Some use butter, some use margarine, some use a creaming method and some an all-in-one method, some dust the top of the cake with icing sugar (powdered sugar) and some dust the top with caster sugar (superfine sugar). The making of the sponges can be extremely sensitive, so sensitive infact, it is rumored that some oven manufactures will test their oven temperatures by baking a Victoria Sponge.
I made three versions of Victoria Sponge Cake yesterday. The first was from a recipe that appears in my 1920’s cookery book ‘Mrs Beeton’s All-About Cookery’. The recipe requires melted butter and also whisking the egg whites and folding these into the rest of the ingredients. It was a fiddly recipe to be honest and in my opinion wasn’t worth the effort.
The second version, I’d rather not discuss. All you need to know is that it resembled a pancake and ended up in the bin!
Finally, the last sponge that I made (the one that is detailed below), came out really well. It just happens that it is the recipe that I used to make when I was at school. I used butter, I used an all-in-one method and I also used a hand whisk rather than a stand mixer. I filled the cake with buttercream and strawberry jam. Obviously you could use a different jam if you prefer and you could use fresh cream rather than buttercream. Whichever way you decide to fill your Victoria Sponge Cake, I hope that you enjoy it!