Food 2020 – Recipes (Victoria Sponge)

Saturday, 18th July 2020 – Recipes (Victoria Sponge)

Cakes are another bete noire of mine, never quite coming out the way I hope. In a fit of optimism, I decided I’d have one more go at what is really quite a basic thing, the Victoria sponge. This has long defeated me, coming out either so risen that it’s ridiculous, or sagging in the middle like and old mattress that’s lost its stuffing. I figured, having conquered scones, and several more complicated items like cinnamon buns, the Victoria sponge should hold no terrors now.

After a brief diversion into the history of the cake itself, and of the invention of baking powder, I rounded up my trusty copy of “Completely Perfect”, which now really is my go-to guide for anything supposedly “basic” and got cracking.


  • 3 large eggs, weighed in their shells
  • The same weight of soft butter
  • The same weight of caster sugar
  • The same weight of self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 2 tbsps milk
  • 5 tbsps raspberry jam
  • Caster sugar, to top


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C (fan) and grease the sides and the base, and then line the base of 2 x 21cm sandwich tins.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a food mixer, or use a hand mixer to combine until light and really fluffy – this should take a good couple of minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides, beat the eggs together, then add them to the mixture a little at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down to make sure everything is mixed in properly.
  4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt, then add enough milk so that the mixture drops easily off a spoon, but does not run off.
  5. Divide evenly between the tins, smooth the top and put in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and well risen: a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  6. In the final five minutes keep a sharp eye on the cakes to make sure they don’t burn.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then put, flat-side down, on a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To assemble the cake, put the least favoured cake, whichever it is, on to a plate or stand, and spread generously with jam. Dust the top with caster sugar, and devour.

It came out a treat, both cakes nice and level and very fluffy.


  • For the final five minutes of baking I covered the tops of the cakes with foil.
  • You can add buttercream. I didn’t.
  • Instead of caster sugar on the top, I used icing sugar because I prefer its softness rather than the graininess of caster sugar.

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