Fresh Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake

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On Saturday it was our Nan’s 84th birthday and so 4 generations of the Taylor family gathered to celebrate. This, of course, was the perfect excuse  to bake a cake that I had always wanted to try, but had never quite got around to: the Victoria Sponge. It’s criminal, I know, that I have reached the age of 30-something, claim to love baking, and have never tried this quintessentially English cake, but it is true.

For those of you who are interested, here is a brief history of the Victoria Sponge Cake:

– Traditionally, the cake consists of two sponge cakes sandwiching strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream, and it is served in slices.

– It was first baked for Queen Victoria by her lady-in-waiting, Anna, Duchess of Bedford.

– The Duchess of Bedford introduced the idea of Afternoon Tea to the royal court after their lunches became smaller and she found herself hungry during the afternoon. Once Queen Victoria tried this cake, she adopted the custom of serving cakes alongside afternoon tea.

So there you have it, not only is this cake deliciously morish, it also started the English tradition of Afternoon Tea. Not bad going for a humble sponge cake really, is it?

To make this cake special, I added freshly sliced strawberries on top of the jam. I have also tasted a version where lemon curd replaces the jam – it is equally yummy. I am pleased to report that not a crumb was left on Saturday night.

Happy Baking x

Ingredients: For the cake

200g caster sugar

200g softened butter

4 eggs,beaten

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp milk

For the filling

200g strawberry jam

300g double cream, whipped

1 punnet (about 15) of fresh strawberries,

sliced icing sugar, to decorate

Method: 1. Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat all of the cake ingredients together until you they form a smooth, soft better.

3. Divide the mixture between the tins, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon or a spatula.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cakes are golden and springs back when pressed. Turn onto a rack and leave to cool completely.

5. When cool, spread a thick layer of the jam on the bottom of one of the sponges and add the sliced strawberries on top of the jam. Spread the whipped cream on top of the strawberries and place the second sponge on top. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

This will keep in an airtight container for 2 days

Serves 10 average portions and 8 generous portions.

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