I recently discovered Victoria sponge cake thanks the PBS program The Great British Baking Show, where Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood serve up tasty challenges to a group of lovely home cooks and amateur bakers. The show is quite sweet as are the recipes, and the contestants a wonderful mix and colorful palette of Britain today.
“Sponge” is an indispensable word in the show’s lexicon. Every judgement seems chased by the line, “Oh, lovely Spooooooonge” or “Scrumptious sponge” which describes the rich, tender, buttery cake before them. I find myself walking around the farm spouting off “Sphooonge, spaaaaooooonge, spongggggge’ in my best (or is that worst) British accent. I can no longer bake anything without chiming in about its sponge whether it has one or not.
There is one recipe as iconically British as Apple Pie is to the American table: Victoria sponge cake. In the original recipe, jam and whipped cream are used, sandwiched between and oozing out of a two-layer cake. Quite the showstopper, but for my version, I wanted to bump up the freshness and richness of the cake by adding island-grown raspberries and cream-cheese-laden whipped cream, respectively. I must say these upgrades to the “spooooonge” elevated an already great dessert. Here’s the recipe:
Vashon Victoria Sponge Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 4 eggs (extra large)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract)
- 8oz cream cheese
- 8oz heavy cream ((36% butter fat))
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3-4 cups raspberries (or any seasonal fruit)
- 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
|Allow butter and eggs to reach room temperature |
Whip butter in mixer until softened. Add sugar to butter, mix until fully incorporated.
|Add eggs one at a time to mixture, mix, scrape down sides of bowl, mix until smooth. Add almond (or vanilla) extract and mix to incorporate.|
|Sift flour, baking powder, and salt mixture in a bowl, then add a spoonful at a time to sugar and eggs until fully blended. Batter will be very thick. Spoon into buttered and floured springform pan.|
|Bake at 350 for 30-45 mins, watch middle of cake rise and test with toothpick to make sure no batter sticks. Center will rise.|
|Whipped Cream Cheese|
|Whip room-temperature cream cheese until fluffy to prevents lumps.|
|Add powdered sugar and whip until smooth.|
|Slowly drizzle heavy cream into mixture, scape sides, repeat until fully incorporated. Add vanilla.|
|Whip until volume increases and whipped cream will hold its shape in a peak.|
|In a separate bowl add berries, and warmed jam, gently mixing to coat berries.|
|Cut cake in half around its circumference so you have two thinner disks.|
|On bottom cake layer add berry mixture, spreading evenly. Reserve some berries for top layer.|
|Atop the berry mixture spread the whipped cream cheese mixture evenly. Reserve some for top layer. Add second cake layer and top cream and berries. Serve cake chilled.|
That show was one of my favourites. Just hasn’t been the same since Mary left! Your Vashon sponge cake looks incredibly yummy – and this from a person who doesn’t like desserts or sweets very much!
Thanks Sandra, I’m still working my way through past episodes, and thank goodness Mary is still an integral part of these episodes.
Beautiful! I have wanted to try making of these since I saw it on the show too 🙂
You missed a truly epic chiffon cake at Oakleigh’s bday 😉
Happy summer Tom!
I’m sorry I couldn’t make Oakleigh’s birthday, but I rest assured knowing she has a mom who made her a chiffon cake for her very first birthday! Here’s to her wonderful life with loving parents AND cake in the house!
I’ve seen all the Great British Bake Off shows ever made – they are both delightful and educational in a bakerly way. Their spin off, in support for Red Nose Day/Comic Relief to raise money for underprivileged and exploited children worldwide, in called Great British Bake Off For Comic Relief, and is also a wonderful series. Read about 83 yr old Mary Berry’s life on Wikipedia – she’s 83 and still energetically ‘feeding’ our culinary minds. The famous Victoria sponge’s history is here https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/VictoriaSponge.htm . LOVE your Vic Sponge photos, Tom !
Susan, you always have such great followups with bits of history and context. Thank you so much. I like the recipe in the link you provided, and from a book I have amazingly enough: Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management. She bases the recipe on the weight of the eggs. I’ll have to give that a try. Thanks for the kind words and photo kudos!
What? Not extolling the virtues of The Great Canadian Baking Show? We have judges French chef Bruno Feldeisen and Canadian/ Australian pastry chef Rochelle Adonis. Same format as the British show. They are looking for contestants for season 2 now. It was fun to watch. They made spooonge, too.
Omg Mike, how could I have missed this? Unfortunately, I’ve now tried to watch it online, but the content is not available outside of Canada. I’ll have to check my local library. (PS- we LOVE our neighbors to the north)
Definitely watch the masterclass episodes too (though they lack the delightful chemistry of Mel and Sue) for some interesting tips and takes on making the challenge recipes. Mary Berry is what I aspire to be in the realm of dessert enthusiast, for sure.
Thanks for the tip Anne, I’ll check it out. I’m trying to decide what will be my fall season baked good challenge; something I don’t make but want to learn how to.
I want to make this and I don’t like cake, spooonge or not. The photos and your narrative made me want to strap on my apron and start baking. Seriously, it looks and sounds delicious. Thank you! And, good to see you if just for a moment at Friday night Pizza.
Catherine, a visit is long overdue and if I strap on my apron first, I’ll give you a call to join me for whatever finds its way in and out or the oven.
I walk around some days and have Mary’s voice in my head too and try to magpie it….
…’oh, luckily it doesnt have a soggy bottom!”….
…”yes, the layers (spoken laaaers) are delightful, aren’t they?”…and on and on.
LOL! I wish to be as cultured sounding when I speak my, to British ears, probably incredibly nasal and guttural American accent. But not in this life anyway….even though I was married to a Brit for many years. Even though I speak it myself, American accents often hurts my ears…especially some news people on cable. We don’t hear how annoyingly nasal and harsh our accent has become over the last 30 years or so.
Yes Chris, we ain’t got nothing on the Brits when it comes to accents, but who knew it was equally as difficult for the Brits to master an American accent. The clip of from Vanity Fair is totally delightful and funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E4TOHGO0Ms
I just watched a series on Netflix with Michael Hall, an American actor…who played main chapter in “Dexter”.
In this new one, made in the UK, called “Safe” he plays a Brit with a local British accent. Don’t know how the local brits in that area feel about it though. But to my ears its pretty good.
Oh golly gosh, Tom – that Vanity Fair clip was totally brill. And it was super seeing (my favourite of the group) Terence Stamp. Thanks a bunch and cheers, mate 😉
I tasted that very cake, and I’m here to tell you that it was scrumptious. Just to help you with your British accent, don’t forget to use Paul Holiday’s pronunciation of the word ‘nuts’. It’s pronounced ‘nooots’. With these two words in your repertoire, you will be adequately prepared to attend the Queen herself.
Thanks Jean, now I’m indeed chopping some “nooots” for my morning yogurt, just so I can say it with that lusciously thick accent.
What fun to find a new TCF post just as I’m in the water-bath stage of 2 batches of pickled sweet cherries! I’m using your recipe and another found online w/bay leaves & peppercorns. Because i had so much pickling liquid and cherries leftover, i mixed the liquids and cherries together in a clean jar (obviously NOT for public consumption). I’ll keep it in the refrigerator for the prescribed two weeks and see what happens. Happy to have a good recipe for spoooooonngg! Thanks!
Sounds like a very good day in your kitchen, Karen. I have some cherries to tend to as well. I think I’m going to try to make an Italian condiment: cherry mostrada. I’ll keep you posted. Cheers!
That is one good looking cake.
Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks Tad, this is one of my new favorite cake recipes.
Holy cow! That cake looks utterly dangerous, in the best of ways – as in, I might make myself sick trying to eat all of it at one sitting. I shall have to make it (or, at least, an attempt to make it – I’m just beginning to appreciate the art of baking). Thanks, Tom.
Michael, this is a great starter cake, has a moist texture, bakes up in an unfussy way, and only take a few good basic ingredients. Good luck!
Oh Tom, Cara at Herban Bloom told me about yr blog. I’m going to make this when I get back home to Texas.
Nice to meet you Peggy, so glad Cara introduced us!
I’ve often played with several recipes of this classic… but then.. just come home to what I like. I use a homemade nectarine butter instead of the raspberry jam because I try to just enjoy the fruit. And I roast some nectarines and white peaches and some pecans for my topping garnish. And I use creme fraiche instead of whipped cream.. even a wee bit in my coffee!
If I’m having company, I’ll do a seedless raspberry butter with follows of ganache that’s been fiddled with chambord.. and top with some innocent royal purple and Anne raspberries.. yum
I love variations on this classic, and yours sounds particularly delicious. I have some peach butter that will surely make its way in to my next effort. Thanks Blue, I’m smackin’ my lips!
A wonderful filled sponge cake it truly is! It looks magnificent, like they say! 🙂
Waw! A job well done!
Thank you Sophie! So great to hear from you. Hope all is well for you on the other side of the pond. Well wishes!
THAT looks absolutely scrumptious. Are those the berries from your garden, Tom? I know Vashon is berry paradise…
Hi Sylvie, how have you been? Yes those berries are from my garden. The Pacific Northwest is berry paradise! 😉
OK, So I tried this and it tastes amazing. A few notes:
1) ditch the jam. not needed with fresh berries.
2) I never could get the filling to come up to stiff peaks. Fortunately I have a CO2 whipper and that did the trick. I really let the mixer run on it too.
3) the recipe doesn’t ever tell you where to put the vanilla/almond extract. I assume it’s the cream, but I did try putting it in both to fine result.
Thanks again, excellent!
Hi Robert, I always like hearing from fellow bakers and learning what did and didn’t work, or in some cases where my geezer brain left out steps in the recipe. In regard to your comments:
Robert: 1) ditch the jam. not needed with fresh berries.
Tom: Absolutely, the jam is optional, I just like to add a little cohesion and shine to the berries. I also use homemade jam so it’s pretty fresh tasting.
Robert: 2) I never could get the filling to come up to stiff peaks. Fortunately I have a CO2 whipper and that did the trick. I really let the mixer run on it too.
Tom: This has me scratching my head, not sure why it didn’t work. I do use a whisk attachment on high speed on a beefy Kitchen-Aid stand mixer which may be the reason it whips so nicely.
Robert 3) the recipe doesn’t ever tell you where to put the vanilla/almond extract. I assume it’s the cream, but I did try putting it in both to fine result.
Tom: I just added the info to the recipe and updated. Thanks for catching that. And yes, I add it once the cream mixture has whipped nicely.
Thanks again, and happy baking!