The Victoria Sponge – its history and a recipe

Victoria Sponge Recipe

The Victoria Sponge is a sponge cake sandwiched together with raspberry jam and dusted on the top with caster sugar*. It is a quintessential English teatime treat and became popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. You will encounter a Victoria Sponge in most tearooms in England. It will be a friendly encounter. I have rarely met a Victoria Sponge I didn’t like.

The ingredients in a traditional Victoria Sponge (sometimes called a Victoria Sandwich) – eggs, flour, sugar, and butter – should be of equal weight; the eggs are weighed in their shell. There are a number of Victoria Sponge variations including using strawberry jam instead of raspberry; adding buttercream or whipped double cream instead of just jam; and dusting the top with icing sugar rather than caster sugar.

 

History of the Victoria Sponge

 

It is widely written that the Victoria Sponge was Queen Victoria’s favourite cake.  That may well be true, but I was listening to English food expert Clarissa Dickson Wright on telly the other night and she said that the Victoria Sponge originated at the nursery tea. She explained that afternoon tea cakes in early Victorian days would have consisted of a fruit cake and a seed cake. For safety reasons, it was believed that children should not eat a cake containing pieces of fruit or seeds, so the light, harmless Victoria Sponge was created as their teatime treat. It wasn’t until later that the Victoria Sponge made its way to the adult tea table.

 

 Finished Victoria Sponge batter Pour batter evenly into prepared tins Cool sponge cakes on wire rack
 

Buttercream Spread jam on one cake, buttercream on the other, then sandwich together Victoria Sponge
 

Ever since seeing the cute Victoria Sponge recipe in Betty magazine, I have been wanting to try it and this past week-end was the perfect opportunity. The directions were very straightforward and easy to do, and the cake turned out beautifully. I only had one hiccup with the recipe as written and that is that it yielded way too much buttercream for the cake – and I carelessly used it all. (Mr. Tea says that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.) Next time I will eat the extra buttercream myself halve the amount.

 

A slice of Victoria Sponge and a cup of tea

 

Here is a page with the Victoria Sponge recipe in case you’d like to give it a go. Do you have a Victoria Sponge story or recipe you’d like to share?

 

*An authentic Victoria Sponge, according to The Women’s Institute

 

 

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Comments

  1. Your cake looks delicious! I agree with Mr. T, there is no such thing as too much buttercream! : )

  2. I was taught by my Nanna, who was a cook by trade, and also in Domestic Science, that a ‘proper’ Victoria Sponge does not have buttercream, but only raspberry jam. I guess there will always be a difference of opinion on that, and I must admit I prefer plain, whipped double cream in mine. Whatever the filling, Victoria Sponge is the perfect accompaniament to a cup of tea!

  3. I love Victoria Spongecake!

    And I’ve decided to feature this post on my weekly link up 🙂 Enjoy!

    http://the-teaist.blogspot.nl/2012/12/tea-talk-link-up-5.html

  4. How interesting to know about the origin of the Victoria sponge cake!
    I believed it was named after the queen.Yours looks delicious!
    Thanks for sharing the information and the recipe, too.

  5. It looks very delicious! I did make three small sponge cakes some time ago and still have one in the freezer. I must get it out now and eat it. Yummmmm!

  6. Yours looks lovely, Denise, but I prefer whipped cream to buttercream (I’m one of those people who scrapes the frosting off cake or cupcakes). Yes, I do have a recipe to share, thank you for asking: http://delightfulrepast.blogspot.com/2011/04/victoria-sponge-english-teatime-classic.html

  7. I don’t have a printer here at my house but will print it out at the store! Thanks for all your lovely information…….from England too!

  8. Great site and great info! It seems we have lots in common. Please feel free to check out my blog too!

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