Victoria: Victoria Sponge Cake
A fun way to enjoy the epic historical series Victoria (starring Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes) is to turn it into a lavish royal event with a full English tea course. It won’t take a fortnight to whip up these classic, simple recipes, and your delighted taste buds will make it worth all the effort. Just like Queen Victoria and her royal court, the first course starts with an assortment of finger sandwiches such as egg salad and watercress, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and traditional cucumber and cream cheese. The next course is the most ubiquitous with English tea time traditions – scones with clotted cream and jam.
Along with a bowl of fruit and a pot Earl Gray or English breakfast tea, an authentic English afternoon tea isn’t complete without the final dessert course. A favorite of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, and Prince William’s, Victoria sponge cake is truly fit for royalty. So next time you’re in the mood for ‘procrasti-baking,’ treat yourself to only the best with this iconic cake made with basic ingredients and a dash of pure elegance.
Bonus tip: Although this step is optional, using the decorative stencil with confectioner’s sugar will make your cake look too beautiful to eat (almost).
- Two 9-in cake pans
- KitchenAid electric mixer (or wooden spoon & large mixing bowl)
- Small saucepan
- Cake spatula
- Parchment paper
- Kitchen scale
- Decorative cake stencil (optional)
- Fine mesh sieve (optional)
- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 8 oz self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 8 oz caster sugar
- 8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing the cake pans
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Whipped cream (get the recipe here)
- Strawberry or raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 baking pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper. Combine the eggs, caster sugar, flour, vanilla, and baking powder into the mixing bowl and blend together using your electric mixer or wooden spoon.
- Fill the baking tins evenly with the mixture. Use a cake spatula to scrape any excess mixture from the bowl and smooth the surface of the cakes.
- Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes; we recommend checking them after 20 minutes. They should feel spongy to the touch, a golden brown color, and coming off the edges of the pans. Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes. Then, run a butter knife gently around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes onto a cooling rack.
- When the cakes are fully cooled down, place one cake face down on a plate and spread evenly with jam. Then top with the second cake right side up. Fill a fine-mesh sieve with confectioner’s sugar. Next, place a cake stencil over the top and dust with confectioner’s sugar by gently tapping the sieve. Remove the stencil and serve each slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and jam.
Fun fact: Unlike most 1800s brides that wore dresses in different colors, Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress when she married Prince Albert, which started an enduring fashion trend.