This is the CLASSIC Women’s Institute Victoria Sponge Cake recipe.
DO NOT break these rules otherwise women the world over will come for you waving their hand whisks!
1) Only ever use raspberry jam in a Victoria Sponge. NO strawberry. Uh-oh, never, ever, ever. That is almost high treason.
2) Only dust your cake with caster sugar. You risk being hung, drawn and quartered if you ever claimed you’d made a Victoria Sponge and dusted it with icing sugar!!
3) Weigh your eggs.
So, let’s take a look at the massive faux pas people usually make when claiming to have made a Victoria Sponge.
1) Filling it with cream, buttercream, lemon curd etc. YES, these taste delicious. Fresh cream and fresh fruit inside a sponge is just delightful… BUT IT IS NOT A VICTORIA SPONGE! It just becomes a sponge. No Victoria there, pet. Move on.
2) Dusting with icing sugar. If you entered a WI Victoria Sponge competition and turned in with your sponge dusted with icing sugar, you may as well emigrate tomorrow. You could never show your face in town again, honey! Oh, the shame!
3) Being impatient. The beating of the eggs into the butter is key. If you want your sponge to float away like a cloud but stay moist and tasty, then you’re gonna have to beat, beat and beat again. Bingo Wings are the plight of the KMIX/Kitchen Aid owner. I bet there were no Bingo Wings on our great grandmothers, who beat their sponges with brute strength.
I have decided that, upon leaving the teaching profession (I have no plans to do this yet…. that I am joining the WI. I want to learn to bake the traditional way. We should be loud and proud about our baking. The world of cheffing appears dominated by men, but who wants deconstructed, cryogenically frozen gel pearls of broccoli on their dinner anyway? Clever? Maybe. Good, honest food? Hmmm, I’m not feeling it.
If you do nothing today, try watching this:
The Hairy Bikers make a WI Victoria Sponge!
Classic Victoria Sponge Recipe (for an 8″ round cake)
3 eggs (You will need to weigh them in their shells. Mine weighed 180g)
Exactly the same amount of butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour. (If you only have all-purpose/plain flour, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder [5g] per 100g of flour. Apologies US friends – I think that equates to 1 tsp baking powder for just over 3/4 cup of flour).
Raspberry jam (home-made is lush!)
* Grease and line two 8″ sandwich tins.
* Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F).
* Weigh out your ingredients. (Remember, it is the weight of the eggs in their shells you will base your recipe on). So, if you have eggs that weigh 180g, you will need equivalent weights of butter, sugar and flour.
* High sift your flour into a clean bowl, twice!
* Quickly beat together your eggs in a cup.
* In your free-standing mixer, or using an electric hand whisk, beat your butter until pale and fluffy.
* Add your sugar and beat. Beat it some more. Beat the living daylights out of it!
* Gradually add your eggs, a little at a time. Beat, beat, scrape down, beat, beat and beat. If your mixture curdles, you are being darn impatient! This part takes time, but is vital to a light sponge. Set aside 10 minutes for this part.
* Make a cup of tea. :)
* When your mixture is ‘together’ and isn’t curdling, high sift your flour into the bowl and, by hand, fold it in.
* Spoon the mixture between your two cake tins. For a perfect sponge, weigh the mixture evenly in each tin! Spread it round.
* Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until light golden brown. The top should spring back to the touch and the edges should be pulling away from the sides of the tin.
* Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack.
* When cool, fill with raspberry jam and sandwich the cakes together. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
Fit for a Queen!