Recipe

Victoria sponge

by Emma Gardner

The perfect showcase for homemade jam

A good victoria sponge has to be one of the most perfect cakes, especially in summer. It’s also a great place to showcase homemade jams and curds, like my raspberry redcurrant jam. Though it reduces the amount of time you can keep the cake for, I am an ardent fan of filling the cake with softly whipped cream. The combination of just-cooled sponge with a crisp sugar-sprinkled top and the jam and cream is sublime. If you need to keep the cake for longer, I suggest serving the cream on the side, whipping it when you need it.

Ingredients

For the cake:
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
170g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk

For the filling:
Raspberry redcurrant jam to fill
125ml double cream
A sprinkle of caster sugar to top

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line the bottom of two 18cm round loose-bottomed sandwich tins with baking parchment.

Place the room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if using a handheld electric whisk) and beat for a minute or two until smooth, pale and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for at least 5 mins on medium-high, scraping down occasionally—the mixture should be fluffy and thick. Whisk the eggs together in a jug to break them up. Sieve the flour and baking powder together into another bowl.

Add the egg to the creamed mixture in small splashes, beating on medium-high as you go and making sure each addition is incorporated before adding more. After adding about a third of the egg, add a teaspoon of flour from the bowl and scrape down the sides. Occasionally add another few teaspoons towards the end (this helps stop the mixture curdling, which will give you a flatter cake).

When you've added all the egg, sift in the rest of the flour and fold in with a big spoon. When the mixture starts to come together, add the milk and fold until uniform. The mixture should be dropping consistency—if you get a big spoon of it and turn it sideways over the bowl, it should fall off the spoon.

Split the mixture between the two tins (each one should be roughly 340-350g). Spread out into an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake on the middle shelf - don't be tempted to look until at least 15 mins has passed. It should be ready after 18-20 mins and be golden brown, springy to the touch, coming away from the sides and a cake tester/toothpick should be able to be removed cleanly from the middle. Place on a wire rack to cool for 5 mins. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the tins and carefully remove from the tins to the rack. Leave to cool fully.

Place one of the cooled cakes onto a serving plate then spread liberally with jam. Whip the double cream until it thickens and just starts holding shape—it’s important to not over whip it. Spread the cream over the jam. Top with the other cake and sprinkle with a bit of caster sugar.

Recipe: Emma Gardner