Victoria Sponge

One of the most traditional cakes associated with Britain has to be the Victoria Sponge Cake. It is a two layered buttery sponge cake filled with slightly sweetened whipped cream and jam. The original was filled only with jam.  Definitely home-made jam and preferably raspberry jam according to the Women’ s Institute, which has held many a competition for the best Victoria Sponge. The whipped cream was a later addition to counter the sweetness of the jam. It is a matter of taste and if you have any cream in the house. It is also known as a magic cake due to the simple formula for the ingredients.  As Mrs. Isabella Beeton wrote in her well-known book of advice Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management:

Ingredients: 4 eggs; their weight in pounded sugar, butter and flour; 1/4 salt spoonful of salt, a layer of any kind of jam or marmalade.”

An average egg weighs roughly 2 ounces which lead to the formula 4-4-2-4. Four ounces each of sugar, butter and flour and 2 eggs.

 

Victoria Sponge

Afternoon Tea

The Victoria Sponge is a quintessential part of an Afternoon Tea Spread. It was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who is said to have invented the custom of Afternoon Tea. After lunches had become lighter, she started to feel peckish at about 4 O’clock in the afternoon. To relieve this, servants brought tea and some bread to her room at Belvoir Castle.

Victoria Sponge ooozing with jam

Afternoon Tea came to London

The Duchess continued this summer habit when she returned to London and it became common practice to send out cards to invite friends to join her for walks and afternoon tea. The spread by now had become more elaborate – consisting of small cakes, sandwiches and sweets and of course a pot of tea.

Victoria Sponge named after the Queen

Queen Victoria was enamoured of this mode and adopted it. By 1855 it was done to dress formally and send social invites out for Afternoon tea. Queen Victoria loved this simple sponge. It is said to have been named after her during the time she spent at Osborn House on the Isle of Wight after her husband died in 1861.

Victoria Sponge gluten free

In our house

There is something about the combination of sponge cake and jam that reminds me of my childhood. Jam oozing out between the sponges. My Victoria Sponge has turned out oozing. It is imperfect, not fit for a competition but delicious nonetheless and gluten-free. Which in this case just means I used gluten-free cake flour. In our house more coffee was drunk than tea, but Victoria Sponge was definitely a favourite, when someone was dropping in. I remember standing on a stool being told to beat butter and eggs with a wooden spoon in a Mason and Cash mixing bowl. Don’t ask how often I licked the spoon.

 

This demonstration of how to make Victoria Sponge by Stephanie Jaworski is foolproof. It can’t go wrong.

 

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Sources:

Victoria Sponge Cake History. (o. D.). whatscookingamerica.net. Abgerufen am 20. Januar 2021, von https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/VictoriaSponge.htm

Pictures: Image courtesy of MattBanks@FreeDigitalPhotos.net