Have you ever tried a proper Victoria Sponge cake? It’s the plainest of cakes, which is right up my street, because I am the ultimate plain Jane, enjoying rich tea biscuits, vanilla ice cream and anything else that gives minimum flavour. Actually, you can’t really put a Victoria sponge into that category, because when made well, they can be scoffed quite easily whilst emitting moans of exquisite pleasure, and a scoop of mashed potato will not do that, unless you throw in half a block of butter.
Queen Victoria had this cake named for her. A Duchess of some town, introduced the concept of having sponge cake for afternoon tea, of which the Queen divulged, thereafter, having a cake made and named accordingly.
An authentic Victoria Sponge has within only jam, and a sprinkle of caster sugar atop. Therefore, what I call my Victoria Sponge is not really one at all, but an off-the-mark copy of the real thing, before any fastidious quibbler complains that it is not in keeping with the tradition of the British Isles.
Here is my version of a Victoria Sponge/Vanilla Cake/Plain Buttercream Cake
7 oz self raising flour
6 oz sugar
2 tps baking powder
100 ml milk
100 vegetable oil
half a teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
2 tbls soft butter or margarine
4 oz icing sugar
teaspoon of milk
Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Beat together for a minute, then fold for another minute.
Pour this mix into two greased and lined round sandwich tins. Please line them if you can. I didn’t this time, and it took me brute force and a mallet to belt them both out!
Pop the tins onto the bottom shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, but check at 20, just in case. When lightly browned and risen, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave until cold.
In the meantime, for the buttercream, mix together the butter, icing sugar and milk until they reach a spreadable consistency. It’s hard to describe this really, only that if you hold a spoon with the buttercream aloft it shouldn’t drip off the spoon as gravity works it’s magic, it should drop with a slight flick of the wrist. Does that make sense?
Once the cakes are cold, sandwich them together with the buttercream and dust with sugar or icing sugar.
When you get down to the nitty gritty, this is just a vanilla cake with buttercream, and it has to be, because my boys dislike jam in cakes. However, you can embellish it with your own ideas and ingredients. You can fill it with jam and cream or lemon curd, that a friend suggested today and sounds divine.