There are times in your life when knowing how to pimp your Victorian sponge cake can seriously save the day!
I was responsible for making a Victorian sponge cake for my Nan’s 90th Birthday party. Making a classic Victorian sponge was a bit of a no brainer, but I wanted to make alternative Victorian sponges for this special occasion.
I came up with 3 sponge cake flavour twists and 3 alternative ways to decorate a Victorian sponge and then I’ll follow with 30 ‘best of the rest’.
Bramley Apple and Blackcurrant Victorian Sponge with clotted cream
Traditional Raspberry Victoria Sponge with raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and clotted cream
Lemon drizzle Victoria sponge with lemon curd and clotted cream
I used Felicity Cloake’s Victorian Sponge cake recipe from her ‘Perfect’ cook book as my basic cake. You’ll need it exactly as it is for the classic raspberry version, added lemon zest and drizzle for the lemon curd version and added Bramley apple in cinnamon plus a little vanilla for the apple and blackcurrant version. But don’t worry, we’ll go step by step.
For the basic Victorian sponge:
115g butter, softened
115g caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature, beaten
115g self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking power
2 tablespoon whole milk
- Set your oven to 180ºC and grease 2 x 15cm sandwich tins with extra butter and line with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy.
- Very gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold into the egg mixture, followed by the milk (both until just combined).
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins and smooth the tops. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes (22 in my oven), until well risen and golden.
My tip is to let them cool in the tins. That way you avoid getting ridges from the cooling rack and it keeps the moisture in the cake too. Whatever you do, let them cool completely before filling (or you’ll get a melting mess).
I opted for luxuriant clotted cream as a filling for all 3 cakes. My Nan has Alzheimer’s but has never forgotten her love of thick cream and to my mind clotted cream is the best. According to Roddas you’ll not need to whip it up, saving time. However, I found a light whip gave it the extra firmness I needed (especially if you are transporting them to a party, as I am).
Other exciting creams to use are mascarpone, such as Delia Smith uses, with added fromage frais, or vanilla cream, such as Jamie Oliver’s, which uses jersey cream with vanilla and sugar. Or if you fancy a healthier version, miss out the cream entirely and just follow the decoration ideas below. Here’s a cream free healthier Victorian Sponge recipe for you to try.
For the Bramley Apple and Blackcurrant Victorian Sponge:
Use the recipe above plus add 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract with the milk. Then at the end of the recipe after everything else has been added gently fold in 1 chopped Bramley apple tossed in the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Place in the oven. It may need a few minutes longer due to the extra moisture.
Once cooled, lightly whip 220g clotted cream and then drizzle dollops of a good quality blackcurrant jam (I’m a fan of Tiptree). About 1/3 of a jar is good.
Place the nicest looking sponge on top and press down gently.
For decoration, I simply placed a small handful of purple flowers on top (just longer than the circumference of the cake) with mainly smaller ones decorating the edge (cut with short stems and poke into the cake so they stay in place). I actually took the base of my tin to the local garden centre to make sure the flowers were size appropriate.
For the Raspberry Victoria Sponge cake with, raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and clotted cream:
Make the sponge using Felicity’s recipe above, no need to add anything.
Once baked and cold, slather with thick raspberry jam and 220g lightly whipped clotted cream. Avoid the edges, as once the top sponge is added it will spread further.
Next add a small punnet of fresh raspberries, pressing them into the cream (va va voom).
Decorated with a single red rose, rose leaves, a raspberry macaroon perched on it’s side and little sprays of white flowers. My nan has always adored red roses (actually red flowers in general) and it makes a particularly romantic finish, I think.
For the Lemon drizzle Victoria sponge cake with lemon curd and clotted cream:
Once again, you’ll need to follow the basic recipe above, except this time add the zest of one lemon to the butter and sugar at the beginning. Beating the zest here will help the oils of the lemon zest to release.
While the sponges are cooking squeeze the juice from the whole lemon and add 38g of caster sugar. Give it a stir occasionally, so the sugar will dissolve.
When the cake is still warm from the oven (but not hot) prick them all over with a skewer and pour over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool completely.
Lightly whisk another 220g of clotted cream and slather on top of the bottom sponge. Add a thick layer (between 1/3 – 1/2 jar) of lemon curd. The zestier the better! Remember, don’t spread the lemon curd too near the edges.
When you add the top sponge the weight will spread the curd for you!
I decorated this one with sprigs lemon thyme, delicate daisy-like flowers, some lemon Turkish Delight and a slice of twisted lemon. I finished it with a little shower of icing sugar.
These cakes were taken straight to my Nan’s party, where I first showed her this lemon curd one. ‘Oh, lovely thank you’, she said and promptly popped one of the turkish delights in her mouth! Needless to say, after a great deal of time belly laughing about it, I showed her the other two – at arms length.
Here’s more ideas on how to pimp a Victoria sponge cake:
So what are you waiting for? Grab you Gran and pimp a Victorian sponge. Only, keep a few Turkish Delights spare, just in case…