But what exactly is the Victoria Sponge, where did it come from, who first baked it? Here's a little history for you:
Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one of Queen Victoria's (1819-1901) ladies-in-waiting, is credited as the creator of teatime. Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs into her dressing room.
Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields. The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.
Queen Victoria adopted the new craze for tea parties. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies were in formal dress for the afternoon teas. This simple cake was one of the queen's favorites. After her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the Queen Victoria spend time in retreat at the Queen's residence (Osborn House) at the Isle of Wight. According to historians, it was here that the cakes were named after her.
I do love a good sponge cake, there's nothing better than a thick slice with a hot cup of coffee.
I had been craving a Victoria Sponge for a few weeks but just never seemed to have the time, and truth be told, I haven't always had the best of luck with sponge cakes, some have been super flops, much to my dismay.
However, this recipe is one that I have had nothing but success with, and it's now my go to Victoria Sponge.
As for the filling, I like to use homemade whipped cream, but in a pinch whipped topping from the store will work too.
Give this one a go and let me know how you liked it.
Adapted from: Keep Calm and Bake
1 1/4 cups self rising flour, sifted (if you don't have, just use plain flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft margarine
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp strawberry jam (you can use blackberry or raspberry too)
Whipped Cream (you can use whipped topping)
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line two 8 inch round sandwich pans. Put all the ingredients except the jam and powdered sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat the living daylights out of them. You can also use an electric hand whisk.
When the batter is very pale, fluffy and almost mousse-like, divide it between the prepared pans and smooth out. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes on a wire rack. When they are cold, sandwich them with jam and the whipped cream and dust the top with powdered sugar.