How Can You Bake a Classic English Victoria Sponge Cake with Fresh Berries?

April 19, 2024

Baking a classic English Victoria sponge cake is an indulgent experience, filled with the comforting scents of vanilla and the mouth-watering anticipation of cream, strawberries and fluffy sponge layers. This cake has been a beloved part of British culinary tradition for the past century, and its popularity continues to endure. Today, we’ll guide you through the process of recreating this sumptuous dessert. With simple ingredients such as sugar, butter, and eggs, along with the distinctive additions of cream and fresh berries, this cake is a joy to bake and a delight to eat.

The History of Victoria Sponge Cake

Before we delve into the recipe, it’s worth taking a moment to understand the origins of the Victoria sponge cake. Named after Queen Victoria, who was known to enjoy a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, this dessert embodies British baking tradition. The recipe has remained remarkably consistent over the years, and despite the advent of more complex cake recipes, the Victoria sponge has stood the test of time due to its simplicity and elegance.

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The Victoria sponge cake was initially a plain cake, but it evolved to incorporate jam and cream layers, often accompanied by a dusting of sugar on top. Fresh strawberries, while not traditionally included, add a vibrant, fruity twist to the classic recipe. We’ll be incorporating these into our recipe, ensuring that you’ll be baking a cake fit for a queen.

The Ingredients

To prepare a classic English Victoria Sponge Cake, you will need the following ingredients:

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  • 200g of self-raising flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 200g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 200 ml of double cream
  • 150g of strawberry jam
  • A handful of fresh strawberries
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

These ingredients are relatively easy to find in most local supermarkets or baking supply stores. The self-raising flour and baking powder will give the sponge its light, airy texture, while the butter and sugar provide a rich, sweet base. The vanilla extract adds a touch of warmth and depth to the flavor. Lastly, the cream, strawberries and jam form the delicious filling, adding a burst of freshness to each bite.

The Recipe

With the ingredients gathered, it’s now time to start baking. This process is relatively straightforward, so even those of you who are new to baking can follow along easily.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius (or 170 degrees for fan ovens), and grease and line two 20cm cake tins. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. This should take around five minutes with an electric mixer.

Next, crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well after each addition to fully incorporate them into the butter and sugar mixture. If the mixture begins to curdle, add a spoonful of your flour to stabilise it.

Once the eggs are fully incorporated, sift in your flour and baking powder, then fold them into the mixture. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a denser sponge. Finally, add the vanilla extract and fold it through.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake tins and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

The Assembly

While the cakes are cooling, it’s time to prepare the filling. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then gently fold in the strawberry jam. Once the cakes are fully cooled, spread the cream and jam mixture over one of the sponges, then top with a layer of fresh strawberries. Place the second sponge on top, then dust with a liberal sprinkle of icing sugar.

The result of your baking endeavours is a traditional Victoria sponge cake, but with a vibrant twist. The addition of fresh strawberries gives a unique taste to the classic recipe, adding a burst of freshness in every bite. It’s sure to impress at any tea party or gathering, and it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of this classic British dessert.

With a little practice and patience, this delicious Victoria sponge cake recipe can become a staple in your baking repertoire. Happy baking!

Tips for a Perfect Victoria Sponge

When baking the Victoria sponge, a few tips and tricks can aid in achieving the perfect result. Firstly, all your ingredients should be at room temperature before you start. This includes the eggs, butter, and even the milk if you choose to add it. Room temperature ingredients mix better and create a smoother, more unified batter which leads to a lighter, more even-textured cake.

It’s also important to not overmix your batter. After adding the self-raising flour and baking powder, you should gently fold them in until just combined. Overmixing can lead to a tough, dense cake as it overdevelops the gluten in the flour. Instead, aim for a light, almost fluffy batter.

When it comes to baking, ensure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature and position your cake pans in the center of the oven for even heat distribution. Keep an eye on your cake towards the end of the baking time. The perfect Victoria sponge should be golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Lastly, patience is key in the assembly process. Wait for the cake layers to cool completely before spreading the whipped cream and strawberry jam. If the cakes are still warm, the cream may melt and make your cake soggy. Take your time to evenly spread the filling and align the cake layers for a neat, impressive finished look.

Conclusion: Enjoy Your Homemade Classic English Victoria Sponge Cake

And there you have it, a classic English Victoria sponge cake with fresh strawberries. This cake is a truly indulgent treat, filled with sweet whipped cream and vibrant, juicy strawberries between velvety sponge cake layers. It’s vanilla-infused aroma and the satisfyingly soft crumb makes it the perfect accompaniment for your afternoon tea or a delightful dessert to end any meal.

The Victoria sponge is a testament to the beauty of simplicity. Sometimes, all you need is a handful of basic ingredients and the magic of baking transforms them into something extraordinary. The addition of fresh strawberries in this recipe brings a modern twist to the classic, adding a burst of freshness and color.

So go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Slice up that beautiful Victoria sponge, serve it to your loved ones, and watch as their faces light up with joy. Remember, the beauty of baking lies not just in the delicious creations you make but also in the happiness and love you spread while sharing them. Happy baking!