Classic Victoria Sandwich

This traditional sponge cake tastes great decorated with a choice of fillings such as vanilla buttercream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. This recipe proves that you needn’t be an experienced baker to make a bakery-worthy cake.

Today I wanted to share a layer cake recipe that’s popular in bakeries, coffee shops and tea rooms.

Victoria sandwich is a classic British recipe and a firm favourite cake for many. It’s a popular cake for celebrations like birthdays and can be as dressed up or down according to the occasion.

Over the last few weeks I’ve lost count of the number of sponge cakes that have been baked in my kitchen. Luckily I don’t mind as sponge cake is my favourite cake and I wanted to make sure this cake was good enough for sharing.

I worried that the recipe was too simple, but sometimes you don’t want to bake anything too elaborate or requires more than a handful of ingredients.

If you feel like adapting the recipe you can add different flavours like fresh lemon, lime or orange zest or fold through some fresh/frozen berries or even some chocolate chips into the cake batter before baking – there are so many derivatives of this basic sponge cake recipe.

Once the cakes are completely baked all the way through, allow them to cool and then decorate as you want. Traditionally the cake has a raspberry jam filling, but strawberry jam or even homemade lemon curd are both delicious alternatives. As well as a curd or jam filling, you can also fill the cake with vanilla buttercream or whipped cream.

However you decide to decorate this cake, I hope you enjoy baking (and eating) it as much as we do!

(Serves 10)

Ingredients:

Cake Batter: 

225g (8 ounces) butter (salted or unsalted), softened – I leave mine out at room temperature overnight to ensure it’s soft enough

225g (8 ounces) caster or granulated sugar

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

225g (8 ounces) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons milk or water

Decoration/Filling:

3-4 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam (try not to use too much otherwise it might spill out)

Half batch vanilla buttercream recipe or 150ml double cream, for whipping (both optional)

Icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 170°C Fan / 375°F / Gas Mark 5. Line the base of two 20cm / 8-inch cake tins with parchment paper and grease the sides of the tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition – if the mixture looks curdled, add a bit of the flour. Next mix through the vanilla extract.
  4. Now gently fold through the flour and mix until no lumps of flour remain. Add enough water/milk to loosen the cake batter slightly (I added 4 tablespoons of water to my cake batter. We’ve found adding water instead of milk produces a lighter cake).
  5. Evenly divide the cake batter between the cake tins, leave a small dip in the centre of each cake to encourage even rising.
  6. Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes (it takes around 25 minutes in my oven) or until the tops have turned a light golden colour and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cakes. Only test one cake as this will become the base layer and the other cake will be the top layer on show.
  7. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully run a knife around the sides of the tin and release the cakes from their tins. Peel the parchment paper carefully off the base of each cake and leave the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack, base side down.
  8. Once cool, fill the cake with raspberry jam and sandwich the two cake halves together. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve. The cake will keep at room temperature covered for up to 3 days. Generally this cake only lasts a day or so in our house!

Enjoy!

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Homemade Lemon Curd

Four ingredients and just half an hour of your time is all that’s required to make this creamy and tangy homemade lemon curd. 

Making my own curd and jam has been on my list for a long time. A few summers back I got my very own private jam-making session with my grandma, we spent the day preparing homemade plum jam and I came home with a several jars of jam to enjoy. As a food blogger a few of the recipes I test unfortunately don’t make it onto my blog. Some recipes are just a plain fail, whereas with some of the recipes I will write down and change things to do better the next time round.

Lemon curd is something I failed at miserably when I made it for the first time a couple of years ago. It was so terrible that it put me off making lemon curd until now. I used a recipe from another source and it never thickened. After standing for over an hour stirring the pot I was left with a bowl of runny lemon slop, not the creamy and thick lemon curd I’d hoped to make.

I learnt from the mistakes I have previously made when making lemon curd and now I am happy to finally have found a lemon curd recipe that works and produces beautifully tangy curd that you could eat by the spoonful.

This is recipe is one my mum handed down to me, my grandma gave my mum a cookbook and this lemon curd was from that book. The cookbook I got this recipe from is called “The Dairy Book of Home Cookery”. My mum has had this cookbook for nearly thirty years and it she’s told me this is the first cookbook she ever owned. It’s the kind of book you go to for reliable recipes that actually work and come out well.

Once opened this lemon curd with last for only about two weeks and that’s good because the recipe only fills one large jar – about 550ml worth of curd in total. It’s so addictive that you’re probably going to want to keep the entire jar just to yourself and not tell a single other person about it!

Lemon curd is fantastic served as it is, you can drizzle it over cheesecake, swap the classic raspberry/strawberry jam filling in a Victoria sponge and spread a generous layer of lemon curd instead and you could even dollop it on top of a toasted crumpet, English muffin or a stack of pancakes.

Before I forget to mention it’s also absolutely divine swirled through plain yoghurt and topped with fresh fruit. One of my go-to desserts, but truth be told all I need is a jar of this lemon curd and a spoon!

(Yields enough to fill 1 large jar – approx. 550ml)

Ingredients:

100g (4 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes

225g (8 ounces) caster or granulated sugar

3 free-range eggs plus 1 yolk, beaten

Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sized heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie/double boiler). Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water.
  2. Add the sugar, eggs and egg yolk and lemon zest and juice.
  3. Cook gently without boiling until the curd thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to overheat the mixture otherwise it may curdle and separate. This recipe takes about 30 minutes to reach the correct consistency.
  4. Sieve the curd if you want and then pour the curd into sterilised jars that are still warm and cover as you would do for jam. Leave the curd to cool completely before placing in the fridge – as it cools it will thicken even more.
  5. Store the curd in a cool place, I usually leave mine in the fridge. The curd will store for up to 2 weeks.

This lemon curd is also delicious sandwiched between two biscuits to make homemade jammy dodgers!

Enjoy!

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