Victoria Sponge Cake

This is a very simple sponge cake, and in my opinion, one of the greatest. Once you have mastered this cake, you have the base for all sorts of variations.–Rosemary Shrager

LC A Great Mind Note

We’re swooning to this Victoria Sponge Cake, yes. This cake, a nod not just to Queen Victoria but British sensibility, defines the very notion of simple yet sophisticated. Yet we’re also sorta swooning to Rosemary Shrager and her seeming inability to not share insights when she thinks of them, seeing as her cookbook is crammed with savvy tricks and techniques. Here, a few tips she mentions in reference to her recipe that we’d rather not withhold from you:

Buttering and lining the cake pans before baking not only prevents the Victoria Sponge Cakes from sticking but also gives the cake a softer exterior.

You don’t have to stick to a round cake pan: you can use a square or oblong tin or even bake the Victoria Sponge Cake in a Pyrex dish. Do be sure to use the right size, however. A 7-inch square cake pan roughly equals an 8-inch round one. If you want to use a bigger pan, use 1 1/2 times the quantity of the mixture, or even double it, remembering that it will take a little longer to bake.

During baking, things can happen to cakes, but don’t worry–it’s usually something that’s simple to correct next time. Sometimes cakes crack or have a peak in the middle, which means the oven was too hot. If the cakes sink, the oven was too cool or you didn’t beat the mixture enough.

If you want to frost the Victoria Sponge Cake but the top of the cake has peaked slightly, you can always trim it and then turn it upside down.

When storing this Victoria Sponge Cake, I always line the containers with wax paper. Most cakes keep well in an airtight container. The higher the fat content, the better they will keep. This Victoria Sponge Cake freezes well without its filling—that is to say, when it’s still just a couple of sponge cakes and not yet a proper Victoria Sponge Cake.

Stale leftover sponge cake can be used to make trifles.

Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes one 8-inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) self-rising flour
  • 7 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1 to 2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • 1. Generously butter a couple 8-inch round cake pans. Line the base of each pan with a circle of baking parchment cut to fit. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • 2. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and almost white in color. This is easiest with an electric beater but you can instead use a wooden spoon.
  • 3. Lightly whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating constantly. (Beating in the eggs a little at a time will mostly prevent the mixture from appearing curdled, although don’t worry if the mixture does appear so, because as soon as the flour is added it will bring it back together. The texture may be slightly denser, but the cake will be fine.)
  • 4. Now sift in the flour directly onto the mixture in 3 or 4 additions, folding each in carefully so you don’t knock out all the air you have beaten in. (You want to get under the butter mixture, turning it over rather than stirring it, and going around the sides and through the middle as gently as possible until all the flour is mixed in.)
  • 5. Divvy the batter between the 2 cake pans and level the surface. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. To check if the cakes are done, press one gently in the middle with your finger—it should spring back up. If you’re still not sure, insert a skewer in the center—if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through.
  • 6. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave in the pans for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of each one to loosen it if necessary. Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. (You can store the sponge cake in a resealable container for up to 1 week.)
  • 7. Peel off the baking parchment and place one of the cakes on a serving plate. Spread the raspberry jam over the top of that cake. Plonk the other cake on top of the jam, then sift the confectioners’ sugar over the top through a fine sieve.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Jo Ann Brown] This recipe has such perfectly balanced sweetness, and is so neutral, that you can use it as a foundation for a broad scope of sponge-based desserts. As written, the finished cake with the jam is great, but apart from this traditional Victoria sponge cake layered with preserves and served with tea, I can see this cake having a host of variations, particularly ones that moisten the cake. Think rum or strong coffee or even sweetened hot milk. I once used a cake like this for a riff on a very rustic tiramisu.

  2. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Raye Tiedemann] This is a nice little recipe. Even with the 4 eggs and 2 sticks butter it is really a very light-tasting cake with a very nice crumb. I couldn’t get past the thought of no vanilla, almond, or even lemon extract, so I added some vanilla, which I felt was needed. I used raspberry preserves in between the 8-inch layers and dusted the cake with confectioners’ sugar, and it satisfied me enough that I haven’t mixed up a creamy frosting or a pastry cream. (Yet.) I already enjoyed 2 slices of this cake. Since I have the rest of it left over, if I really want to make it rich, I may add some custard and fruit and turn it into a trifle.

  3. Alex says:

    I always see Victoria Sponge Cakes from across the pond, especially on Violette Bakery’s site. It sounds so fancy, so I’m thrilled to see it’s actually a simple cake! I might pull some backyard rhubarb, make a quick rhubarb jam, and give this a whirl this weekend! And the trifle idea…lovely! Thanks, LC.

  4. Maureen Deeley says:

    This is a George Washington pie in Massachusetts. Always serve it in February for his birthday on the 22nd.

  5. David and Rosemary, lovely classic recipe, but where is the cream? A bit of whipped cream is in order. Of course, a few people even use a buttercream frosting between the layers, and THAT is just wrong! What could be better than a nice buttery cake with raspberry jam!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      That’s the beauty of this simple yet versatile cake, Jean. You can fancy it up as you please. Go right ahead and add that dollop of whipped cream. As for us, we’ll stick with the preserves….

  6. Patricia says:

    WOW this is super.

  7. Ann says:

    This cake is a great go-to recipe. I made it once by weight type recipe (the Brits and Europeans weigh everything!). It came out perfect. Completing it were no-fuss toppings of raspberry jam and whipped cream. Minimal effort, tons of taste. Why would anyone buy a boxed cake mix when you could use this recipe?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Our sentiments exactly, Ann. Exactly. Many thanks for taking the time to spell it out.

  8. Very British indeed! Salutes!

  9. We’re on the same train and I have to show this to my friends. Two weeks ago 4 ladies gathered to make this cake, inspired by the British show ‘The British Bake-off’! It is amazingly simple and oh so delicious, with whipped cream and homemade strawberry sauce.

    I was so thrilled when I saw this!

    My next versions are running through my head – pastry cream (with whipped cream folded through) and strawberry sauce. I’m also thinking of a ganache with whipped cream too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW, it does remind me of a pound cake with most ingredients being the same quantity

  10. BTW, I’ve made this twice – the first time, I followed this method. Great results.

    The second time, I used the Mary Berry/Paul Hollywood method – dump all the ingredients into a bowl and combine gently with a wooden spoon or in a food processor till just combined, 1 – 2 minutes then spoon into baking tins. Bake as normal – equally light and delicious, and far easier!

    • Beth Price says:

      Oz, I just love that you had such great success with this cake. And love all your variations. And love even more the thought of you, with all the ladies, making this sponge cake.

  11. Nancy says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I’ve been looking for a good VS recipe to try and given the good feedback this recipe has received I would like to give it a go, but in where I live we don’t have self-raising flour, what might be a good substitute?

  12. ruthie says:

    “…have a peak in the middle, which means the oven was too hot.”

    Well, dang! I thought those peaks were there so you’d have one for the indentation of the plate and the other for a nice round top. Really, I did think that. ;) Flip one over and put the two flat sides together for a nice even middle. Heh. Guess our oven ran a little hot.

    I love tidbits like this, so thanks for including them. I also love this cake recipe, so much simpler than something with fancy frosting, but just perfect in its simplilcity. Thanks!

    • Beth Price says:

      Too funny, Ruthie! Those peaks always drove me crazy when I was beginning to bake. My cakes were always lopsided and looked like something from Dr. Seuss.

  13. thechef says:

    This cake strikes a balance between buttery and sweet, and pairs well with a cup of tea. It is dense and moist with a slightly crispy crumb. The raspberries add a delectable tartness.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Yup, thechef, that sounds about right! Am so glad you find this to be lovely. And am so grateful that you took a moment to share your experience. Many, many thanks. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail