Although there are various sponge cakes, the terms “sponge cake” and “Victoria sponge cake” (or Victoria sandwich) are often used interchangeably in the UK. A quintessential British treat, the cake is a type of vanilla sponge cake traditionally filled with jam and whipped cream or buttercream.
Considered to have originated in Spain during the Renaissance, the sponge cake is considered to be one of the first cakes without yeast. His popularity in Britain, however, is largely due to a royal connection.
One of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is said to have created tea time after suffering a ‘sinking feeling’ in the afternoon between meals. After initially asking her servants to bring tea and snacks to her dressing room, the Duchess of Bedford adopted the European tea service format and began inviting friends to join her for an extra meal afterwards. noon centered on cupcakes, a sandwich, candy and tea. The practice quickly became so popular that it was picked up by other social hostesses, including Queen Victoria.
In 1855, Queen Victoria and her ladies were enjoying afternoon tea, with the Victoria Sponge named after one of the Queen’s favorites. The version Queen Victoria ate would have been filled only with jam, but modern versions usually include cream. Following the invention of baking powder in 1843, created by English food maker Alfred Bird, the Victoria Sponge recipe has also been greatly improved, allowing the addition of butter and helping the cake to rise higher than was previously possible.
The recipe is also said to evolve from the classic pound cake, made with equal proportions of flour, fat, sugar and eggs. As a result, some believe that the term “sponge” is used “wrongly”, preferring to use the term “Victoria sandwich cake”. Whatever its name, the cake has remained incredibly popular for almost 200 years. While simple and somewhat old-fashioned, it’s a staple of so many British baking directories, great for afternoon tea, desserts, or even birthdays.
For the cake
- 200 g Granulated sugar
- 200 g Unsalted butter softened
- 4 eggs beaten
- 200 g flour
- 2 tea baking powder
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ tea sea salt
For filling and decoration
- 400 g blueberries for filling (fresh or frozen)
- 100 g fresh blueberries for decoration
- 1 lemon zest only (reserve a pinch of zest for garnish)
- 300 ml double cream
- 200 g softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoon corn flour the amount may vary depending on the use of frozen berries and the juiciness of the berries
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoon Granulated sugar
- 100 g icing sugar sifted (plus extra for decoration)
Preheat the oven to 190 ° C / heat 170 ° C / gas 5. Butter two 20cm tart molds and line them with non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then add half of the eggs and mix to combine, then add half of the flour and fold. Repeat with the remaining flour and eggs, adding the baking powder, vanilla extract, salt and milk with the last addition of flour. Mix until you obtain a supple and smooth dough. Stop mixing at this point to avoid over-mixing the dough.
Distribute the mixture between the molds, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed. You can also test if the cake is done by inserting a skewer in the center and checking that there is no wet dough on the skewer. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
While the cakes are in the oven, prepare the blueberry filling. Combine 400 g of blueberries, 5 tablespoons of sugar and a little water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the berries have burst (allow an additional two minutes for frozen berries).
In a small bowl, mix the corn flour with another splash of water, add it to the pot. Let the mixture boil for a minute or until the mixture thickens. Set aside and let cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, beat cream cheese until frothy. Add the cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest and icing sugar and beat until soft peaks form. If using, transfer the frosting to a pastry bag.
To assemble, place a drop of frosting on your serving platter and place your first cake upside down on it, this will keep it from moving. Pour the blueberry sauce on the sponge cake and spread it around the edges, leaving a border of 1 cm. Pipe (if using) or spread 2/3 of the frosting on top. Place the second sponge upside down on top. Top cake with remaining frosting and fresh blueberries. Finish by sprinkling the cake with a dusting of icing sugar and the reserved pinch of lemon zest.
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