The Victoria Sponge has been around for decades. It is an old favourite that is held close to all British bakers’ hearts and is a national favourite. But before I go onto how you make this classic, I will briefly give you a quick history lesson about this simple but yet delicious sponge came to be.
To start off where did the name come from? I guess the clue is in the name of the cake, as the Victoria in question is that of Queen Victoria who reigned over Britain for the best part of the 19th century from 1837 to 1901.
Victoria’s reign was noted by historians as being a ‘golden age for Great Britain’ the industrial revolution was in full swing, and the commonwealth was forever expanding. Some of you historians out there may now that the phrase ‘’the empire on which the sun never sets” was coined as an adage to the nations curiosity to seek and find new resources. Some of the findings have become key ingredients that we now use in our daily lives and no baker could live without the likes of sugar, cocoa, herbs, spices and coffee.
So as a result the sponge was made for the Queen by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting. She made small little cakes and named them after Victoria as homage to her successful reign. Soon these cakes where served at the numerous banquets and tea parties Victoria held; it wouldn’t be long till they made their way into the nation’s hearts and homes.
Here’s what you will need!
• 225g/8oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
• 225g/8oz caster sugar
• 4 medium eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 225g/8oz self-raising flour
• milk, to loosen
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Grease and line 2 x 18cm/7in cake tins with baking paper.
Technique: Greasing and lining cake tins .Greasing and lining cake tins.
3. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
Technique: Creaming butter by hand .Creaming butter by hand.
4. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract.
5. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency.
6. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Place onto a wire rack.
9. Sandwich the cakes together with jam, lemon curd or whipped cream and berries or just enjoy on its own.
10. Grab a plate and enjoy!
By James Busby
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