I’m most excited about posting this recipe for a classic Victorian sponge cake because It’s a cake I have wanted to perfect for years. Cake is my favourite food group and a craving for a simple but very well-made cake such as this often strikes with such vigorous force, I become obsessed. I tested this recipe 3 times and realized whilst it really is a very simple cake, some technique plays a part. I’m going to walk you through all the steps that are important when making this cake.
I was approached by Bonne Maman to do a recipe featuring their product. As you will probably know they are a dreamy French jam & preserve manufacturer, and I couldn’t think of a baked recipe that showcases jam as well as a Victorian sponge. I chose strawberry, which is very classic, but you could use absolutely any jam flavour of your choice. This cake is all about a beautiful cake with a dense and moist crumb, a very thick layer of berry jam, and buttercream icing.
Fresh cream is often used to sandwich a Victoria sponge cake together along with the jam and I love this too. However, this buttercream frosting with a hint of vanilla is my preferred choice.
How to make a Victorian sponge cake:
There are various methods to make cake. You can do it in a food processor, or you can use an electric mixer to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs as I have done. Baking is a science and there are reasons why the butter and sugar and then the eggs are creamed together. When you add eggs to a butter mixture (a fat) you are essentially making an emulsion. The fat from the butter emulsifies with the protein & water in the egg. You want to add the eggs one at a time and ensure they are incorporated before adding the next egg. I always employ this basic technique when making a butter-based sponge cake.
Make sure you use medium eggs. Large eggs can cause this cake to drop in the middle when baked. The eggs must be at room temperature. Cold eggs can prevent an emulsion from happening.
To recap: add eggs slowly, use room temperature medium eggs only.
Once the butter, sugar and eggs are very nicely creamed and emulsified (I find using a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment the best), add the flour and milk in two parts and whisk very briefly to incorporate. Never overmix after the flour has been added. I always sift the flour and baking powder twice before. If you are going to the effort to sift in once you may as well sift it twice.
Vanilla is not traditional in a classic Victorian sponge recipe, but I love to add a teaspoon to the batter and half a teaspoon to the frosting.
Try not to open the oven while it is baking and try not to overbake this cake as it could dry out. If you do get a slight dip in the center after it’s been baked this is common and can just be filled with jam, frosting, or cream.
What kind of pan do you bake a Victorian sponge cake in?
I tested this recipe putting all the mixture in one cake tin with the intent to cut it in half later and it didn’t rise as well in the middle. I found the best way to ensure an even rise was to split the batter between 2 x 20cm (8 inch) loose-bottomed springform cake tins. I always line the bottom and sides with baking paper.
How to store the Victorian sponge cake:
Store your cake in an air-tight container to prevent it from drying out. If you are using fresh cream, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge
Tips & substitutions:
You can fill a Victorian sponge with any Bonne Maman preserve of your choice.
Use fresh whipped cream instead of the vanilla buttercream if you prefer, just take care not to over-whip, stopping as the cream forms soft peaks. Add 1 tablespoon of icing sugar & ½ teaspoon vanilla to 125ml (1/2 cup) of whipped double cream to make Chantilly cream.
Top with slices of fresh strawberries or any berries you prefer.
Bonne Maman® is exclusively available in South Africa at Woolworths
Makes 1 cake – 8 -10
Victorian sponge cake with strawberry jam
- 225 gm butter
- 225 gm caster sugar
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225 gm self-raising flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 100 ml milk
- 100 gms butter softened
- 140 gms icing sugar sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 – 2tsp milk
- Approx. – 160gms Bonne Maman Strawberry preserve
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line two 20cm springform baking tins with baking paper.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add each egg one at a time, ensuring it's well incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour and baking powder twice and then add that to the cake batter while mixing on low. Add the milk and briefly whisk to combine. Do not over mix.
- Scrape down the bowl of the mixer and divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake tins. Even the top out with a spatula.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. The cake is done when you insert a sharp knife into the middle and it comes out clean. If necessary and to prevent over-browning, loosely cover the cakes from about 10 minutes into the baking time.
- Cool on a rack.
- Make the icing by whisking all the ingredients until pale and fluffy.
- Assemble the cake starting with a layer of icing then a layer of Bonne Maman jam. Place the second layer on top and dust with icing sugar.
*This post is proudly sponsored by Bonne Maman
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