How to make the perfect Victoria sponge

Simple things are always the best which is why there’s nothing more delicious that a straight-forward Victoria sponge – the perfect treat for a summer afternoon.  Sweet strawberry jam encased in a sandwich of light and fluffy sponge is the perfect antidote to a busy working week.  Plus, it’s one of the easiest cakes to make, costs pennies and requires normal ingredients you’re likely to already have in your store cupboard.

However, if the thought of a Victoria sponge takes you back to home economics classes where your first attempt at baking produced little more than a soggy mess or a biscuit-like sponge, don’t worry.  We’ve road tested the recipe for Victoria sandwich cakes by Delia Smith, Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver and put together some great tips to enable you to make a delicious Victoria sponge, without fail.

What ingredients do you need for a Victoria sponge?

  • Butter or margarine (we like Stork)
  • Self-raising flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Eggs
  • Baking powder

Delia Smith’s Victoria sponge recipe uses 4oz of butter, flour and sugar and two eggs while both Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver use 8oz and 4 eggs.  Delia’s receipe uses 1tsp of baking powder while Mary Berry advises 2tsp. We’ve found better results with the Mary Berry recipe – the Delia version is delicious but the higher quantity of ingredients we think makes it easier to get the cake to rise. (If you’re having trouble getting your Victoria sandwich to rise, you could also try adding a bit more baking powder.)

You’ll also see that Delia’s recipe involves adding the ingredients in a certain order and sifting your flour while Mary Berry’s recipe allows you simply to add everything to the bowl and mix it up.  We’ve found it makes no difference to mix ingredients in a certain order – try both methods and see what works best for you.  If you do simply put everything in a bowl at the same time, try mixing your cake for a minute longer than you normally would and hopefully the additional air will make your sponge a bit fluffier than usual.

What about the filling?

The classic filling for a Victoria sandwich is strawberry jam and butter cream.  You make butter cream by mixing butter with icing sugar.  You may need to add a little water to get the right consistency.  Instead of water you could try adding a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract for a delicious alternative.

You could also fill your cake with fresh cream and sliced strawberries.

5 top tips for the perfect Victoria sponge

  • Pre-heat the oven – make sure it’s up to temperature before you put your cake in.  Once the cake is in, don’t open the door until it’s done.
  • Weigh your ingredients – don’t guess!
  • Mix your cake by hand, use a hand whisk or use a Kenwood kitchen machine, that way you’ll get plenty of air into the mixture.
  • Line your cake tin with baking parchment to help prevent it from sticking.
  • Let the cake cool for a couple of minutes before you try to turn it out onto the cooling rack.

How to store your Victoria sponge

Perhaps your sponge cake will be so delicious it gets eaten in one sitting.  However, if you need to store it simply do so in an air tight container.  Most chefs say it will keep well for around 3 days.  You can freeze your sponge (as long as you haven’t added the filling!)  Allow it to cool thoroughly before freezing.

Do you have any top tips on how to make the perfect Victoria sponge?  If so, please share your secrets with us on our Facebook page.

Alistair Ward

I've been at Appliance House since 2011 having worked in every role at the company.