Even though it is still cold outside, the end of winter is finally in sight! Whilst at an outdoor farmer’s market a few days ago I found these beautiful raspberries and blackberries, so what better way to use them than in a quintessentially British Victoria sponge cake?
Victoria sponge cakes would originally have been just simply a sponge with a jam filling, but it has evolved and promoted itself to another level, now often having cream in between the layers and all sorts of summer berries on top.
There are only a few things you need to know in order to get a perfect sponge every time… The most important is, of course, to be precise when making your sponge. For a really light and fluffy sponge, the butter and sugar has to be creamed until increased in volume and pale in colour.
On the other hand, only whip your double cream until it forms soft peaks, any further and it may begin to curdle. Otherwise, this is definitely one of the most simple recipes and perfect for a total beginner to get involved in! It is perfect to get children involved in baking and do feel free to toggle the toppings and fillings. Other great combinations raspberries with a rose water flavoured cream or sliced peaches with an almond flavoured cream.
For the sponge :
- 250 g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 250 g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250 g caster sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 4 tablespoons good-quality raspberry jam
- 300g fresh raspberries & blackberries, washed and dried.
- icing sugar, for dusting
For the cream:
- 300 ml double cream (heavy cream in the US)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
- 4 tbsp sifted icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter, line the bases with greaseproof paper and dust lightly with flour.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. A great tip is to stop when the mixture turns from being slightly yellow in colour to almost white. Add the eggs one by one, making sure you beat each one in well before you add the next, then add the vanilla extract and the flour. Divide the cake mix between the prepared tins. Spread it out well with a spatula and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and risen and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully turn out on to a baking rack to cool completely.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla bean paste and sugar until you get soft peaks- careful not to overbeat it though! Spread the jam and then the vanilla cream over one of the cakes. Place the second cake on top, spreading onto it a thin layer of whipped cream and decorating with alternating raspberries and blackberries.