It’s the Queens birthday…well, actually, I’m not sure it’s her actual birthday but everyone in Australia will be getting a long weekend this weekend to celebrate anyway. Here in Singapore we will not be getting a day off, but I thought the least I could do was mark the occasion with a cake fit for a Queen…the Victoria Sponge. It’s actually my all-time favourite cake so I’m thrilled it’s the Queen’s pretend birthday.
Light fluffy vanilla sponge, cream and jam. Quintessentially British. It’s simple really but oh, so tasty. A sprinkling of icing sugar and a little fresh berries for decoration and you are good to go.
I can thank my Mum for my love of baking. I grew up in an English household so we always had treacle pudding, spotted dick (to much hilarity), jam sponge and apple pies for dessert. It was usually my job to help mum with the dessert – not a hardship really. So I learnt to bake the proper way – cream the sugar and butter, gradually add the eggs, sift the flour etc. But these days there seem to be endless requirements for baking (mainly due to the kids) so I now use this fail safe, throw it all in-doesn’t matter if the butter isn’t softened-all in one bowl-version (mind you, softening the butter in Singapore just simply means “take out of the fridge” because before you know it, the butter is molten).
Quite honestly, I can not tell the difference between the throw it all in vs. the technically correct way that now I just go with what is easiest.
You will require two quantities of the below recipe to make two cakes.
150g butter (if you can be bothered, softened)
150g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
splash of milk
200ml double cream
Strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Fresh berries (optional)
Preheat your oven to 175°C. To make the cake, put all of the ingredients in a bowl (except the milk) and beat until pale, creamy and smooth. Add a splash of milk and beat again to loosen the consistency. Pour into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin. Repeat the process for the second cake (don’t be tempted to make double the quantity in one bowl and then divide it between two tins as it often doesn’t work…don’t ask me why. It’s something scientific).
Place both cake tins in the oven on the same shelf and bake for 30-40 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled level the cake that will be on the bottom layer. To make this easier, I usually place it in the fridge for 30 mins which makes it less crumbly when cutting.
To make the filling, whip your cream until it is thick enough to spread. You want a bit of ooziness but not so that is running all out of the cake. Spread the cream in a thick-ish layer on the levelled cake. Spread the jam on the underside of the top cake and sandwich the two cakes together. Press a little but not too much otherwise your filling will ooze out of the cake.
Dust with icing sugar and decorate with berries if using.
Happy long weekend to all my Australian friends… and happy birthday Queenie!