Friday, May 28, 2010

Victoria Sponge

Victoria sponge is one of my favorite teatime sweets. I've had it several times at tea rooms in England and wanted to make one myself for my mum and I to enjoy with tea on a sunny afternoon. We remembered our favorite Victoria sponge that we enjoyed at a cute cottage tea room outside Polegate, where my mum grew up. Another reason I decided to make it now was that Victoria day was just this past weekend. While it's not an American holiday, it does honor Queen Victoria's birthday. Victoria sponge cake was named after the long reigning Queen Victoria who started hosting tea parties to get back into society after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. Sponge cakes were served at her tea parties that became known as "Victoria sponges." Traditional Victoria sponge cake consists of two sponge cakes sandwiched with a layer of jam (typically strawberry) and cream, which is why it is sometimes referred to as Victoria sandwich cake. The top is typically not iced, but simply sprinkled with fine sugar or confectioners' sugar.

The sponge cake batter was easy to make, but this was my second attempt. The first one was a flop. Well, not so much of a flop as it did taste good, but didn't rise whatsoever. Part way through the baking process, I realized that the recipe didn't call for baking powder. However, it did call for self rising flour...oops. It did taste good, but it was really more of a pound cake than a light sponge cake.

The cakes baked nicely and while they didn't rise all that much, they were a perfect buttery and airy sponge cake.

I then made my cream filling while the cakes cooled. It was just butter, confectioners' sugar and a little milk, much like traditional buttercream.

To assemble the cake, it was a layer of strawberry jam (my last jar of homemade jam) and a layer of cream.

The second layer of sponge cake went on top. It just doesn't look complete like this, does it?

I used a little sifter to evenly sprinkle confectioners' sugar on top and added some fresh strawberries. Much better!

It was the perfect combination of buttery sponge cake, fresh flavorful jam and cream that paired well with a cup of cream tea we enjoyed sitting out on the deck.

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