Saturday is National Sponge Cake Day, so I just had to share a beautifully simple and traditional Victoria Sponge Cake. I think English food gets a bad rap sometimes. It has a reputation for being bland and heavy. I can see how that might happen. From what I can tell, the essence of English food is simplicity. There’s not a lot of spices or chiles or cheese to bring a big punch of flavor. You have to rely on quality ingredients to do the work. If you can’t get quality ingredients, or if your technique is not so awesome, a simple dish can quickly become unimpressive.
But when it’s done right, when everything is super fresh and cooked perfectly, English food can be a truly beautiful thing. A simple golden roast chicken with glazed carrots, roast potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding is truly beautiful. I’ve learned to appreciate the elegance.
Don’t misunderstand me. I will still eat a crazy, over the top mash up dessert loaded with every kind of sugar you can imagine, but I’ve also learned to appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the Victoria Sponge Cake. We’ve been down this road once before with the Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge Cake, but I felt like you deserve the real deal.
This cake has only five ingredients, butter, sugar, eggs, self-rising flour, and a splash of milk, so you better make sure they’re good. If ever you were going to splurge on high-quality, fancy butter, this would be the time. It’s filled with raspberry preserves and fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. That’s it. So easy. It has a coarser texture than your average cake, but there’s no frosting to weigh it down. I suggest you pour yourself an afternoon cup of tea and cut yourself a big piece.
Life is complicated enough all on it’s own. You don’t have to go making it worse with complicated food. Keep it simple and elegant. Make a Victoria Sponge Cake.
- 175 grams (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 175 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 175 grams (1-2/3 cups) self-rising flour
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup raspberry preserves
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Spoonful of powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium high for about five minutes. You want the mixture to be very pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Sift the flour over the butter mixture and fold it in with a wooden spoon. Finally, stir in the milk until you have a soft, ploppable batter.
- Divide your batter evenly between two waiting cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When your cakes are cool, put one layer on it's destination and spread the preserves evenly over the bottom layer.
- Make your whipped cream by whisking the heavy cream in a cold bowl. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer. When it starts to thicken a bit, add in the sugar, and keep whipping until you just barely have stiff peaks. A slightly softer cream is fine here.
- Spread the cream over the preserves, then put the top cake on. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a bit of powdered sugar. Store the cake in the fridge if you can stop yourself from eating it all in an hour.