RECIPE: Victoria Sponge Cake

People & Culture

Victoria Sponge Cake with strawberries and cream on a vintage silver cake stand for afternoon tea, England, UK (United Kingdom)

May is an ideal month to make a Victoria Sponge Cake. Named after Queen Victoria, who used to enjoy a slice with her afternoon tea, this traditional cake is still widely eaten today in the United Kingdom.

A Victoria Sponge Cake (or Victoria Sandwich Cake as it’s also known) usually consists of two layers of white cake filled with raspberry or strawberry jam and optional double cream.

It just so happens, National Strawberries and Cream Day is observed annually on May 21st by many foodies… as well as anyone looking for an excuse to pair these two for a divine treat. As well, in Canada, on the second last Monday in May, Victoria Day is celebrated – a national holiday commemorating Queen Victoria’s birthday. More casually, however, the Victoria Day long weekend is considered an unofficial start to summer. Acknowledging these two “festivities,” a Victoria Sponge Cake seems quite apropos, as it makes for a light, summery dessert or tasty “tea time” addition. (It would, of course, be a great addition to any Memorial Day weekend picnic as well!)

Queen Victoria Statue around Hyde Park, in Front of Kensington Palace, London, UK (United Kingdom)
Queen Victoria statue around Hyde Park, in front of Kensington Palace, London
Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Bridge in London, England, UK (United Kingdom)
Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Bridge in London

Serving: 8-10 slices

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened, plus some for greasing pan
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry jam, more to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in the middle. With a small amount of butter, grease the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes.
  4. Continuing with the mixer bowl, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended, then beat in milk, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in flour mixture until all combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into prepared cake pans, smoothing the top evenly.
  6. Bake cakes for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and springy. (A toothpick in the centre should come out clean.) Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely, flat side down.
  7. Transfer one cake (the less attractive one) to a serving platter, and spread jam evenly on top, to desired thickness.
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla just until it forms stiff peaks. Spoon about half the cream on top of the jam and lightly spread evenly.
  9. Place the remaining cake on top.
  10. Dust with confectioners’ sugar (optional) and serve immediately, with the extra whipped cream on the side, along with some strawberries for garnish (optional).