The Queen Victoria Sponge Cake is a most popular cake in England, a 2 layer butter cake filled with raspberry (or strawberry jam) and whipped cream or buttercream. Then the top layer is usually sprinkled with powdered sugar. Here is my version.
Please note that the unusual way of mixing the cake (butter with flour first) yields a tender, spongy cake. This cake is adapted from Dan Lepard’s all purpose easy butter cake.
For those of you who want to know more about the history behind this cake,
Britishfood.about.com says: "The Victoria Sponge was named after Queen Victoria as reputably it was her favourite cake. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who has been given credit for introducing the charming art of the Afternoon Tea was Lady in Waiting to the Queen who quickly adopted the custom serving sponge cakes as part of the tea." —Regine
2 1/3 cups
All purpose flour
Baking powder (yes, 1 tbsp which is 3 tsp)
Unsalted butter, softened (100 grams or one stick of butter minus 1 tbsp)
1 1/4 cups
or 3 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
each whole milk and heavy cream
Pure vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cups
raspberry or strawberry jam (my favorite is Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves)
each chopped strawberries, raspberries and whole blueberries. But fresh fruits are optional.
Whipped Cream filling
1 1/2 cups
Vanilla or French vanilla instant pudding mix (the powder)
Grease two 8 inch cake pans. Note that you can also use 9 inch cake pans. However, you will need o adjust baking time; and layers may be less high, which may not be a bad idea after all since layers of jam and whipped cream increase height of cake. You can line but you don’t have to. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat eggs with a fork or whisk, and mix with the whole milk, heavy cream, oil and vanilla. Set aside.
Place flour, cornstarch, sugar, and baking powder in electric mixer and stir by hand several times with a fork or whisk.
Beat in butter (make sure it is soft), one piece at at time, until only pea sized pieces remain. It make take 1+ minutes. Since bowl on my electric mixer is not big enough, I had to start mixing by hand prior to using electric mixer in order to avoid splashes of flour as the electric mixer kicks in. You may have to do the same thing, depending on size of your bowl. Gradually and slowly pour in milk mixture while the machine is running on medium high speed. Beat for about 1 to 2 minutes. There may be some remaining pea sized pieces in the batter; that is ok.
Pour into the two cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then unmold and flip it over. Let cool for 1 hour or so.
On top of first cake, place raspberry or strawberry jam, then the whipped cream filling. You may think it is too much but it is not. It complements well with the amount of cake and jam. If desired, add ¼ cup each chopped strawberries, whole raspberries, whole blueberries. Top with 2nd cake. Cake pictured has no fresh fruits.
Optional - Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of cake, and, if desired, place a medley of berries all around the cake, and even on top if you want.
If you are not serving within the next two hours (or weather is hot), you want to keep cake refrigerated, but let it reach room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes prior to serving. If you don’t want to be bothered with refrigerating the cake, replace the whipped cream frosting with a buttercream of your choice, but be careful as it is much sweeter than the whipped cream frosting. But I find that my whipped cream frosting remains stable for a couple of hours outside at room temperature.
For the whipped cream filling, stir the heavy cream with powdered sugar, pudding mix and vanilla and beat till soft peaks form.