Sunday, May 31, 2009

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake was apparently Queen Victoria's favorite. In 1855 Queen Victoria enjoyed afternoon tea with formal dress and cake . . . .and so of course I made it for our Victoria Day long weekend in Canada which is held in May. I checked UK recipe sites on the proper preparation of Victoria Sponge cake. . .they are all nearly exactly the same. . .and they measure their ingredients. They use equal weights of flour, sugar and butter. They generally do not call for milk except for a small amount .. a bit at a time until the batter slowly drops from the spoon. My friend Jill sent me this recipe which she found from allrecipes.com where I often find tasty things to bake and cook. I used the list of ingredients to make my cake. . .and added a pinch of salt. . .don't all cakes need salt?

I baked my cake in a 6 inch across and 3 inch high cake pan. The batter rose perfectly to the top. It did sink slightly in the middle. .but with a fluffy whipped cream topping. . .who knew?
The other thing that I never do ...is grease my pan. . I simply cut out a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom. I want the batter to climb up the pan. . .and when it is greased. . it is hard to climb up. Not greasing helps the cake to stay level .. .in my opinion. Another important note about cakes that are baked with butter. They really are best served room temperature. Once the butter hardens in the cake. . it seems dry. .but served fresh the day it is made. .the crumb is tender and moist. Put the cake together with custard and cream. .no more than an hour before serving. Refrigerate until serving. Of course you could impress your guest by completing it while they watch. . .


Victoria Sponge Cake
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar or berry sugar. .or caster sugar (UK recipes all call for caster sugar which is a cross between North American white granulated sugar and icing/confectioners sugar. . .a quick blitz in the blender would probably reduce the granulated sugar to caster sugar perfectly)
  • 1 cup of soft butter. .(with my experimenting. . I found that the butter should be very soft. . .not melting. . but soft enough to be starting to slump)
  • 2 large farm fresh eggs (In most recipes they would use 4 farm fresh eggs. . which of course I endorse. .but then just enough milk to make the batter drop from the spoon. . .next time I intend to measure my ingredients and try it that way)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Trace around your cake pan. . .and cut out parchment paper to line the bottom. The recipe called for an 8 inch pan. . .I used a 6. . .so experiment with what you have.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a piece of waxed paper. . .(I use this so I can funnel it into the batter)
  3. In your mixer bowl, cream the butter. . .and then add the sugar and whip till light.
  4. Add the eggs. . .one at a time. . .until each egg is completely beaten in.
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour. . and then 1/3 milk. .until both are added in .. .and then the vanilla.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the cake . ..for 20 minutes. . and then test. Mine took longer because it was a higher pan. I turned my oven down to 375 for another 10 minutes. . .and tested with a toothpick until it came out clean.
I then let the cake cool in the pan upside down for 10 minutes and removed to cool completely on a wire rack. I split the cake in half. . . filled with a simple custard that I've used for years. .
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Blend dry ingredients in a medium saucepan or microwave safe mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and the milk. . .whisk . .and heat until it comes to a boil and thickens. .
Whip 1 cup of cream and 2 tablespoons sugar .. .and pop it into a piping bag with a large star tip. .pretend you are an artist. . or a kid. . have fun swirling on top of the cake. . and garnish with some fresh berries.

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely fit for a queen!!

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  2. OOOH yummy! I have not had a good sponge cake in YEARS!!!

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  3. Looks wonderful, Lovella. You sure know how to present a cake! I also appreciate the tip about not greasing the sides of a cake pan. I'll remember that next time I bake a cake.
    I wonder if berry sugar would be like their castor sugar? I know it is quite a bit finer than granulated sugar. Also, confectioners sugar has cornstarch in it so it would be different yet.

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  4. Beautiful cake Lovella! Perfect for a special occasion..

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  5. I've read that castor sugar and berry sugar are the same.

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  6. Beautiful description and presentation! Sometimes we just need to take time and find more excuses to celebrate!

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  7. Queen Victoria had good taste! Your replica looks amazing.

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  8. Lovella, do you not grease your cake tin for any cake? Are there any exceptions? This is something good to know.

    Sonya, Australia

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  9. What a yummy looking cake ! I make Victoria Sponge cakes for my family and friends at work, and vary the fillings sometimes using strawberry jam and vanilla butter cream or coffee and walnut or lemon curd. The recipe books I have always say to use two cake tins. I go for the eight inch round tins about 2 inches deep. The ingredients are 8oz butter 8oz caster sugar and 8oz self raising flour and 4 large eggs. I divide the mixture between two tins and bake for about 25 minutes. Did you use one large tin ? If so this is why it may have sunk in the middle. If you ever come over to England I would recommend Bettys tearoom in Harrogate they make very special cakes.Theyalso have a website. Regards Mrs Stanley From Birmingham England

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  10. Thanks will try and let you know. Am Brit in Canada, struggling with oven, temperature, ingredients etc. thanks x

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