Victoria sponge cake

I think if the last post for soft chocolate molasses cookies gave off Christmas vibes, I was going for an afternoon tea theme with this one.  That's basically because this is a Victoria Sponge - the classic English cake often served at tea time or at a special occasion or celebration.
Traditionally, the classic Victoria Sponge (or Victoria Sandwich) is two layers of sponge cake filled strawberry jam and whipped cream.  You might see variations using a different type of jam, some including fresh fruit, and maybe even buttercream instead of whipped cream.  I took my own liberties and filled this little 6-inch rendition I made with cocoa whipped cream.  In my book, why use regular whipped cream when we can make it chocolate?
And in trying to maintain some sense of tradition, I did serve the cake (to those who wanted it) with strawberries on the side.  My husband likes his sweetened so I tossed his with a bit of sugar.  We think it's good with or without the strawberries, maybe because you can't go wrong with a classic golden sponge cake.  There's something familiar and welcoming about that buttery, eggy scent and flavor that makes this perfect with a cup of tea, or not...I say that because in all honestly, half of this cake was served to two 11-year old boys who had no problems devouring this "sandwich" without a tea leaf or tea cup in sight.  It's funny how reality often differs from fantasy...
I've been wanting to make a Victoria sponge for a long time so I'm glad I spotted this recipe from the New York Times cooking section that put me into action.  We polished off this little cake very quickly, which is always a good sign.  I have to admit I still have afternoon tea on my mind...for a long time now, I've been daydreaming about creating my own afternoon tea at home - with food I actually want to eat and a tiered cake stand filled with mini pastries.  I don't know if or when I'll make it happen but it's a nice thought and I have fun planning it in my head...


Dividing this cake recipe in half, and baking two 6-inch (rather than 8-inch) layers, is a bit tricky because it involves small proportions as well as using 1 1/2 eggs.  That said, I do have a preference for these mini cakes when it's just for my small family. We can polish it off quickly and keep the rotation of treats coming!
Like me, my son prefers chocolate-flavored whipped cream to plain if there's a choice so I took about a half a cup of heavy cream and whipped it with a tablespoon of cocoa powder, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar, and a touch of vanilla extract.  I whipped the cream by hand with a large whisk, making sure not to over-whip; if you do go overboard on the whipping, just gently whisk in another spoonful or so of cream until it comes back together in a smooth consistency.
You can see why they call this cake a "sandwich" sometimes.  Go the more classic route by sandwiching the two cake layers with a smattering of strawberry jam and whipped cream.  You can add some fresh sliced strawberries on top of the whipped cream as well.  Be sure to use a serrated knife to gently saw into cake layers to get neat slices; the whipped cream filling has a tendency to ooze out.
This was as pretty to look at as it was good to eat.  Make it for your next tea party or for no particular reason other than to enjoy a good slice of cake.

Recipe:

Victoria Sponge Cake
Adapted from New York Times Cooking

- For an 8-inch, 2-layer cake (or divide recipe in half like I did to make a 6-inch, 2-layer, cake; they will need about 20 minutes in the oven) - 

For cake:
12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour
3 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (175g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For cocoa whipped cream filling
1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

[Alternative filling: 1/2 cup jam (such as strawberry or raspberry) and whipped cream]

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sliced strawberries, for serving (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, then beat in milk and vanilla, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.  Divide batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing out the tops.  

Bake cakes until golden brown and springy, and a cake tester inserted into the cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then unmold and transfer (flat side down) on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make cocoa whipped cream, beat heavy cream in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, followed by vanilla extract.  Beat until it just reaches stiff peaks.

Place one cake layer onto a serving plate.  Spread whipped cream evenly over the top. Place the second cake layer on top of the cream.  Dust cake with confectioners' sugar. Slice cake with a serrated knife and serve with fresh strawberries on the side, if desired.






36 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful Monica and you're right - why not chocolate whipped cream?! Strawberries on the side seals the deal for me too. You make the most beautiful cakes! Hope you're enjoying the cooler weather. Happy hump day!

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    1. I'm glad you're okay with me using the cocoa whipped cream, Tricia. ; ) It's been a nice week but rain is coming tomorrow. Can't complain though!

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  2. I Think this cake is perfection ♥

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  3. It looks so beautiful and I love the fine smooth crumb of the cake.

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    1. I can see why this is the British go-to cake. : )

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  4. This cake is gorgeous! That filling is so so pretty :)

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    1. Thanks so much...glad you like that cocoa whipped cream.

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  5. I can see why this was devoured quickly. What a gorgeous looking cake! I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks

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    1. This kind of cake is too easy to eat, Ashley!

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  6. Hi Monica, oh I love that New York times cooking section, they have such great recipes. This looks like a wonderful cake, love the chocolate cream in the middle and the strawberries on the side.

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    1. Thank you, Cheri. And yes, I love seeing practical ideas/recipes I want to go into the kitchen and make right away. I've seen a lot of Victoria sponge cakes but many call for self-rising flour and this one was just straightforward. : )

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  7. Your cake looks so light and fluffy but I am sure it has way more flavor then the sponge cakes in Maxims. I could eat your filling by the spoon fills.

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    1. Thanks, Bobbi. Hope you're having a great week!

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  8. I love Victoria Sponge Cake since my years in the UK. The first time I ate it was in Brighton in the Bed&Breakfast where we stayed. And that day it rained in the afternoon, so we went back for a moment and enjoyed a glorious moment (there were more ladies of a certain age that young people like us) but I loved that ambiance - a whole ceremony - like in the books of Agatha Christie. Really.

    Sorry darling, your post brought back good memories.

    Okay, let's get back to your VSC - it is beautiful and we see that it is fluffy. If I was in your city I would invite myself to your place to have a slice or two.... Hahaha.

    P. S. Here we are enjoying our last days of holidays, called "Potatoes Holiday"
    I wish you a tip top tastic Thursday dear ;)

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    1. Don't apologize...I *loved* reading that! I can almost picture your B&B stay and I love it! Agatha Christie is my favorite author so I would have loved to soak up that ambiance, while eating cake! And now I have to figure out what "potatoes holiday" is!! Enjoy the rest of it and soak up every moment (I know you are...). Thanks for the great comment!

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    2. Well Monica, the name "Potatoes Holiday" dates back to the days when children leave during the month of October were helping their parents to pick potatoes in the surrounding fields. Now, the program of this week, from 22 to 30 October, is much more fun! ;)

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    3. Thank you for explaining it because I looked it up and couldn't find anything. But now that you mention it, I do remember reading/hearing something like that from somewhere! : ) I hope you're having a great modern version of this holiday! Take care...

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  9. What a classic, I love the colour of that filling!

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    1. Thank you...I often over-whip so I tried to be careful. : )

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  10. This sponge cake looks so light and fluffy. Oh gosh, and that chocolate filling looks droolicious. Yummy! :)

    Anu
    www.mygingergarlickitchen.com

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  11. This cake totally fits the afternoon tea theme! I was just thinking about making some tea ... and now I want cake too! :)

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    1. haha! I totally advocate cake - even a little teeny slice - with your tea! ; )

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  12. This cake looks gorgeous. The filling sounds so delicious!

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    1. Thank you! It is a lovely classic.

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  13. What a simple, but elegant cake! I have never had Victoria Sponge, but I definitely think your chocolate whipped cream is an upgrade! When I am halving a recipe and need half of an egg, I do it by weight. I put a bowl with the entire beaten egg on a kitchen scale and remove half for the recipe. Is that what you do?

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    1. I can see why it's such a classic; it's so simple and just plain good.
      As for the half egg situation, yes...I've done it that way but I have to admit that I often eye-ball it. Yikes! : )

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  14. This cake is perfect for afternoon tea! It looks beautiful and so elegant! I love that you filled it with some chocolate whipped cream too!:)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. I need to make myself (and a few guests) a homestyle true afternoon tea one day. I love the general idea and ritual of tea and well...having a ton of food and pastries with it!

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  15. This looks like it would be right at home at a fancy tea party- so beautiful! The boys at my house would devour it with a glass of milk though, before I even had the water boiled for tea! :)

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    1. Thanks so much! And I totally relate about boys. I served half this cake to two 11 year olds and they gobbled it up, no tea in sight! : )

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  16. Your cake looks gorgeous. I love afternoon tea and I can't wait to try this recipe. thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you...it is nice and easy, and easy to eat. : )

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  17. I just recently learned about Victoria sponge cake from the BBC show "The Great British Bake Off (American version is called The Great British Baking Show). Anyhow, the contestants always make Victoria sponge cake. I thought it sounds delicious and I have been wanting to try it. Your recipe comes at the perfect timing. Bookmarked!
    P.S. If you are not watching the show, you need to check it out. You would love it!

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    1. I have watched a few seasons of it and the contestants always wow me! I do love British notions of tea and sponge cake and that ritual. This is a classic.

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