There are not many people I know who would say no to a nice slice of cake and a cuppa, especially when it’s a slice of good old homemade Victoria sponge.
I love baking a Victoria sponge, and not just because it tastes heavenly, but because the recipe only requires a few ingredients and doesn’t take to much effort to make.
You can keep your Victoria sponge as traditional as you like, just filling it with buttercream and jam and dusting the top with a fine sprinkling of icing sugar, or like me, you can go all out and create a show stopping cake topped with fresh fruit and more delicious buttercream. This cake would be the star of the show at any party or special occasion.
To decorate the sponge, you will need a large piping bag and a star nozzle. You can purchase the nozzles in places like hobbycraft or the range (anywhere that sells cake decorating supplies) and they cost around £1.50. I also use a cake decorating turn table which can be purchased quite cheaply but you can manage without for this cake.
You can use the all in one method for this recipe – simply add all the ingredients in the bowl and beat until all ingredients are well combined and the mixture just about drops off a spoon. Be careful not to over mix as the sponge can turn out tough and dry. I like to use the creaming method which is the method I’ll be providing below.
This recipe is based on using 2x 8inch (20cm) sandwich tins. (My tins are deep so I used a 275g mix with 5 large eggs but I’ve adjusted the recipe to suit most standard 8 inch tins)
For the sponge –
225g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
225g baking spread or unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
For the filling –
250g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
15ml whole milk
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
(**Half the quantities above for the buttercream if you only plan on filling the middle of the sponge and not the top as well)
A jar of good quality strawberry jam
For the decoration –
Fresh fruit of your choice
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/160c
2. Grease and line 2x 8inch sandwich tins
3. Add the baking spread/butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat together on a medium speed for a few minutes until pale and fluffy.
4. Crack the eggs in a bowl (to avoid getting egg shell in the mix) and with your mixer on low, slowly add the eggs to the mixture one by one until everything is incorporated. (mixing well before adding the each egg)
*Don’t worry if the mixture looks split or curdled. You can add a small amount of flour as you add each egg to the mix if you wish to stop this happening but either way it won’t effect the sponge when baked…not in my experience anyway!
5. Add the vanilla to the mix and beat until combined.
6. In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder and then add to the mix. Beat together slowly until all the ingredients are well combined.
7. Divide the mix between the two sandwich tins and using a knife, spoon or offset spatula spread the mixture around the tins until evenly distributed.
8. Give the tins a little tap on a hard surface before transferring them to the oven (this helps to disperse any air bubbles and also stops the raising agents from activating too quickly when baking).
9. Bake for around 25mins. The tops should be a light golden brown colour and a toothpick or skewer should come out clear when inserted through the centre of the sponge. (My sponges took around 32mins to bake as they were deeper tins)
10. Leave to cool on a baking rack for 5 mins and then turn out the sponges from the tins and leave until completely cool.
11. Meanwhile, make the buttercream by creaming the butter until pale and fluffy, then add the icing sugar in two or three stages, beating well between each addition.
12. Then add the milk and vanilla (you may need to add more milk if the consistency is too thick) and beat well until everything is well incorporated and the buttercream is light and creamy.
13. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
14. Once the cakes are cooled, take one of the sponges and place on a cake board (use a little buttercream to “glue” the cake to the board) or place on a cake stand or plate. If the cake you are using for the bottom layer is not flat on the top, it’s a good idea to use a bread knife and slice the uneven part of the cake off so you get a level sponge and a good flat foundation for the cake.
15. Using the piping bag, make small circle movements with your hand to pipe buttercream rosettes onto the sponge. You can just spread an even layer of buttercream over the cake with a knife or offset spatula if easier.
16. Then add a layer of jam over the buttercream. I use a piping bag for this and swirl the jam over the buttercream but use whichever method you find easier. Then sandwich the cake together with the remaining sponge.
18. You can either use a sieve and dust a light coating of icing sugar over the top or pipe small buttercream rosettes on top of the cake and decorate them with fresh fruit of your choice. Be as simplistic or as creative as you like!! Then dust the fruit with a little icing sugar and you’re done!
19. You may want to let the buttercream set a little before cutting as the cake may slide but once set, enjoy with a nice cup of tea!