A Victoria sponge cake is a true English classic dating back to 1861 when it was first recorded in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. By this time baking powder had been invented and thus the traditional pound cake recipe was transformed into a lovely bouncy well risen cake. The Victorians were mostly partial to a bit of fruit or seed cake for their afternoon tea, the Victoria sponge was invented to offer an alternative which was believed more suitable for children. The original cake would have contained only a jam filling. Its namesake is none other than Queen Victoria herself.
Personally, I prefer the traditional method of making this cake. So I cream the butter and sugar together first until light pale and fluffy, then add the egg, flour and baking powder. Others however may swear by the modern method of mixing the whole lot in together. I don't feel the texture is quite the same or right to be duly named a Victoria sponge rather than just a sponge.
My version is made with a light vanilla buttercream, however it is truly gorgeous with a decadent double cream centre. Once made the cake will only last a day or two. It does however freeze well, hence why I prefer to make it with buttercream.
Now don't be put off with regards to making your very own raspberry jam folks. It is so easy honestly and it just transforms this cake. The jam has a zing to it that cuts through the sweetness of the buttercream and cake and really pushes itself forward as a headline act of this cake. As long as you keep testing it until it sets on a cold plate you will be fine. Trust me you won't regret the extra bit of effort it takes, it will transform your cake.
So here is the recipe, as ever if you can please do drop me a line to let me know how got on. Enjoy!
Victoria Sponge with easy homemade raspberry jam and light vanilla buttercream
Here's what you'll need...
- Piping bag and size 3R nozzle (nozzle not mandatory)
Ingredients you'll need...
- 200 g unsalted softened butter
- 200 g caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1½ teaspoon milk slightly warmed
Raspberry Jam filling
- 425 g fresh raspberries
- 165 g golden caster sugar
- 200 g softened unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 g icing sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
Here's what we do...
- Set the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4.
- Grease 2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy and very pale yellow in colour. This may take a few minutes.
- Sift your flour and baking powder together.
- Add half of the egg mixture and start mixing gently. Once it starts to look like loose scrambled egg add 3 tablespoons of flour. and mix until incorporated.
- Add the rest of the egg mixture and flour and beat together, until all ingredients are combined.
- Transfer the cake batter to your two sandwich tins, measuring on scales so that each tin holds the same amount.
- Level the batter gently with the back of a metal spoon.
- Bake in the centre of the oven, side by side if you can and remove when golden and a metal skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cook on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the tin and and cool on a cooling rack.
- Purée the raspberries in a food processor, then pass them through a fine nylon sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon so that as much juice as possible gets through – you should get about 15fl oz (425 ml).
- Place your purée in a medium saucepan with the sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn up the heat so the mixture boils rapidly for 8-10 minutes, keep stirring from time to time so it doesn't catch on the base.
- When it's ready, the mixture should have reduced by one third and a wooden spoon drawn across the base of the pan should leave a trail for 1-2 seconds only, but be careful not to overcook it, or you will get a glue-like consistency. The other way to test it is ready is to place a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes then transfer some of the jam to the plate and see if it sets within a few seconds, if is quite runny then it is not quite done yet.
- Leave the jam to cool before spreading over the flat side of one of the cake tiers.
Soft and silky buttercream
- Beat the butter and vanilla essence until silky smooth.
- Gradually add the icing sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated and soft.
- Add the buttercream to the piping bag which has been fitted with your nozzle (if you do not have a nozzle just cut a 1.5cm hole in the bottom of the icing bag).
- Pipe round blobs of icing on top of the jam layer, moving from outwards to inwards, the blobs should no about 2cm in height.
- Place the other tier of the cake, flat side down, onto the buttercream layer.
- Sprinkle the caster sugar over the top of the cake.