A Victoria Sponge with a fresh cream and strawberry jam filling. This classic cake uses very few store cupboard ingredients and is very easy to make. It's light, soft and tastes absolutely delicious!
Victoria Sponge Cake, sometimes known as a Victoria Sandwich is a very light and springy plain sponge cake. It can be filled with freshly whipped cream or buttercream and your choice of strawberry or raspberry jam.
All you need to make this perfect cake is butter, caster sugar, flour and baking powder.
This recipe is for two 20cm (8") round cake tins. However, it's simple to adapt the recipe to fit different sized tins.
Butter versus margarine
You can use margarine or soft butter to make this cake. I have made it using both and prefer the flavour that butter gives. When baked with butter you will tend to get a more golden - and, in my opinion, tastier cake.
You will definitely need to make sure that your butter has been taken out of the fridge a couple of hours before you begin baking. Soft butter is a must when making sponge cake.
Top tip: If you haven't had time to take the butter out of the fridge - fill a large bowl with warm water. Put the butter into a smaller bowl then place the bowl on top of the water. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and your butter should then be soft enough to bake with.
No butter? No problem. Stork can give very good results too and you will end up with a fluffy well-risen sponge. Another good thing about Stork is that it can be used straight from the fridge.
Weigh your eggs
In order to get the most perfect sponge, it is preferable to weigh your eggs in their shells. You then weigh out your other ingredients: sugar, butter, flour to weigh the same as the eggs.
When I made this Victoria Sponge I weighed 4 medium eggs (in their shells). They came to 232g. So as not to make this recipe look complicated I have specified that the butter, sugar and flour each weigh 225g but if you want to achieve the best ever Victoria Sponge then weigh the ingredients out to exactly match the weight of your eggs.
So, if you only have large eggs you might only need three. If you're lucky enough to have your own chickens, you might have one large, one medium and one small egg!
Top Tip: Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
All-in-one method or creaming method?
I prefer the creaming method over the all in one method.
I'm not a fan of adding the flour at the same time as all the other ingredients because this method can result in a denser cake.
You will get a much more tender and soft crumb by gently folding the flour in after the butter, sugar and eggs have been creamed and beaten together.
By folding the flour into the mixture we don't knock out all the air that has already been incorporated into the cake batter resulting in a much lighter cake.
How to make a light and fluffy cake
To ensure a light and fluffy sponge you need to make sure you properly cream the butter and sugar.
The easiest way to achieve this is by using an electric handheld whisk but it can absolutely be done using a wooden spoon and elbow grease!
Make sure your butter is really soft, add the sugar and beat the two together until the mixture looks very pale and fluffy. This will take at least 3 minutes on a high speed.
Add the eggs one at a time beating very well in-between each addition. The mixture might curdle if your eggs are too cold but don't worry - just add a tablespoon of flour and the mixture will come together again.
If you have the time and a spare bowl double sift the flour and baking powder as this will properly aerate it. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixing bowl and use a large metal spoon to fold everything together in large exaggerated looping movements.
Why add baking powder?
You might be thinking "hang on a minute, self-raising flour already has baking powder in it. Why am I adding more?"
I tested this Victoria Sponge with just self-raising flour and also with added baking powder. Pictured below are the results.
The sponge on the right had the additional 2 teaspoons of baking powder added. It was much taller and the texture was springier than the sponge without it.
Make sure that you use the exact measurements. In the words of Mary Berry "If I say to use two teaspoons of baking powder that means two level teaspoons of baking powder. No more, no less".
Weigh your mixture
In order to get the best and most perfect sponge cakes you will need to weigh the mixture into your cake tins.
I know this seems like a faff but it's the easiest way to get both cakes the exact same size and saves time trimming the cakes later on.
My mixture weighed 430g into each tin and my cakes came out pretty identical.
Once you've made the batter, put one of your tins onto a scale and zero it. Then add 400g of batter. Do the same with the other tin and see how much mixture you have left over then divide it evenly between the two tins.
Voila! Perfect and even Victoria Sponge cakes.
Buttercream or fresh cream?
I can guarantee that when I post this recipe to Facebook, at least one person will comment to say it's not a Victoria Sponge! The reason for this is that there are some real purists out there that refuse to entertain the idea of a Victoria Sponge filled with fresh cream.
"It should be buttercream, or it's not a proper Victoria Sponge", they'll say.
Well, actually that's not technically true!
According to the Women's Institute, there is neither buttercream nor fresh cream inside a Victoria Sandwich. And the jam of choice is actually raspberry, not strawberry.
So there you go. While I'm certainly not going to argue with the WI's definition of this classic cake, I will say I much prefer it filled with strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream.
Variations and flavour options
Victoria Sponge is a great step into the world of cake making and the many variations of sponge cake. A plain sponge can be easily adapted into other flavours:
- Lemon Cake - add lemon zest and juice to the ingredients and you'll end up with a beautiful lemon cake.
- Orange Cake - as above but with orange zest and juice.
- Chocolate Cake - replace 25% of the flour with cocoa powder.
Victoria Sponge Q & A
Sponge cakes were invented during the renaissance, probably in Spain. The Victorian, Alfred Bird, an English food manufacturer created baking powder which allowed the addition of butter to the traditional recipe. This was when the Victoria Sponge was created. It is said to have been enjoyed by Queen Victoria herself!
You can add 2 level teaspoons of baking powder to 225g of plain flour. Double sift the flour and baking powder together. Then add an additional 2 level teaspoons of baking powder as stated in the recipe.
Sieve over a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar or caster sugar.
Yes, you can. Here's a Sponge Cake Calculator that will calculate the ingredients for you and scale the recipe up or down depending on the size of your tin.
You added too much baking powder which makes a cake rise rapidly and then sink. You opened the oven door too early. You took your cake out of the oven before it was properly baked.
Don't be tempted to open the oven door too early. Victoria Sponge will take around 25 minutes to bake so don't check on it before the timer is up. A properly baked sponge will be: shrinking away from the edges of the tin, golden brown and springy to the touch.
Yes, you can make it in one tin but you will need to approximately double the baking time. I would check it after 45 minutes. To turn it into a two-layer cake use a cake slicer to cut through the middle.
Cakes dome when the edges cook faster and set quicker than the middle. The centre continues to bake and you end up with a dome. It's not the end of the world and you can trim any excess off. You can avoid domed cakes by using quality tins and making sure your tins are the correct size for the quantity of cake mixture.
If you don't weigh your ingredients properly using a scale you can end up with too much flour. This is usually the culprit for dry cake. You will also need to check that your oven isn't running too hot and make sure you don't overbake the cake, which can also lead to dryness.
This is usually because the cake was wrapped or stored before it was completely cool.
As this cake is filled with fresh cream it will need to be stored in the fridge where it will keep for 2 days. Victoria Sponge made with buttercream or just jam can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Victoria Sponge Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went. Feel free to post a pic on my Facebook Page or tag me @amytreasureblog so I can share your wonderful creations on social media!
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The Most Amazing Victoria Sponge
- 225 g unsalted butter softened
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs (weighing approx 225g in their shells)
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 250 ml double cream
- 1.5 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180ºc/160º fan/Gas 4/350ºF Grease and line two 8" (20cm) round loose-bottomed cake tins.
- Put the soft butter (225g) into a large mixing bowl, add the caster sugar (225g) and use a handheld electric mixer to cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the mixing bowl, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Place a sieve over the mixing bowl and sift in the flour (225g) and baking powder (2tsps).
- Use a large metal spoon to gently fold the ingredients together. Take care not to overmix.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins (about 430g in each tin). Smooth the top of the mixture with the back of a spoon and gently tap the cake tin on the work surface to release any air bubbles.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. When baked, the cakes will shrink away from the sides of the tin slightly and will feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the cake tins before turning out.
- When the cakes are cool place one of the cakes on a cake board or stand and spread it with the strawberry jam (6 tbsps).
- Put the double cream (250 ml), icing sugar (1.5 tbsps) and vanilla extract (1 tsp) into a mixing bowl. Whisk until it is forming soft peaks and holds its shape. Spread it on top of the jam and then sandwich the other sponge on top. To decorate, dust with icing sugar.