by Eddy Robey M.A.

Victoria Sponge

"Happy Victoria Day," was how our Canadian editor greeted me on a recent telephone call. I hadn't the faintest idea of what he meant, yet as he told me of the holiday, I was full of smiles. It sounded, to me, the perfect reason to get baking one of my favorite British desserts. Victoria Sponge is a vanilla scented cake, split and filled with both jam and whipped cream.

Yes, many Americans like to joke about English food, usually to its detriment. However, that has not been my experience. Just the thought of London sets my mouth watering with anticipation. No, I don't eat in ordinary pubs or teashops, but neither do I go to greasy-spoon cafes or truck stops stateside. Occasional anecdotes aside, great quality food isn't made from bargain-basement ingredients prepared by self-trained staff.

Victoria Sponge is a perfect illustration of this. You will find it everywhere in England, and at every level of cookery. At its best with tender buttery cake, good quality jam, and freshly whipped Devon cream: it is a joy; at its packaged worst with dry sponge, artificially-flavored filling, and shortening based icing: it's inedible.

This cake is a perfect reason to enjoy a Dairy dinner. A lovely Summer menu would also include wine-poached salmon, cucumbers dressed with sour cream, and green beans amandine.


1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1 cup finely granulated Sugar
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self-rising Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1 cup seedless Raspberry or Strawberry Jam, stirred
1 cup Heavy Cream, whipped
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Fresh Berries for garnish, optional


Butter and Flour the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the Butter and Sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream at the low speed of your electric mixer, until light-colored and fluffy. Add the Eggs, one at a time, beating each until thoroughly incorporated, before adding the next. Add the Vanilla extract, and beat. Add the Flour and Milk by halves, beating each only until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cake is done when it is golden brown, and shrinks slightly away from the sides of the pan. Place on a rack to cool. After 10 minutes, remove the sides of the pan, and allow the cake to cool completely. Cover until just before serving.

When ready to serve, cut the cake into two layers. Spread the bottom layer: first with Jam, then the whipped Cream. Replace the top layer, and sprinkle with powdered Sugar. Serve each piece garnished with a few fresh Berries, if desired.

This cake may be varied by using Peach, Blueberry, or Blackberry Jam, and garnishing with those fruits when in season.

Copyright 2011 Eddy Robey

  Copyright 2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
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