Firstly, apologies. I know I’ve been a bad blogger. Life caught up to me. But never fear faithful followers! I have not quit cooking. In fact, I’ve been cooking nearly as much as ever. I just haven’t been posting about it. I pledge to try harder.
It is fitting that I am writing about this cake for 2 reasons. First of all, I missed my blog’s one year anniversary. I never even posted any recipes that month! In addition, I made this a short while ago for a friend who was celebrating her birthday! (Happy belated birthday Rach) She is also the Matron of Honor in my wedding. She asked me if I could try to recreate a classic English dish her grandmother always makes her. Now, please don’t hold this cake to the standards of traditional Victoria Sponge Cake. There are many things that the traditional cake will or will not have that just doesn’t *quite* make it the same.
For instance, I could not make the cake in crazy British measurements. Not that they are crazy in general; just crazy hard to replicate here in the States. Exhibit one: 7 inch sponge cake tins. I didn’t know a 7 inch round pan existed. I have one smaller pie plate that would have cut it, but no second pie plate for the second layer. So I did not use the pie plate. Instead, you can use two 8×8 square pans. Exhibit 2: Funny names for items like caster sugar and icing sugar. These are just superfine and powdered sugar, respectively. Exhibit 3: Directions in ounces in grams. This is actually a brilliant way to bake. Europeans are much more precise in their measurements when baking, so they use scales to get the exact weight of the ingredient they are using. While this is much more accurate, most American kitchens don’t have a scale.
Needless to say, I had to do some math and some research. But, in the end I had an actual cake that had a striking resemblance to an actual Victoria Sponge cake. The most amazing thing is this recipe is actually pretty simple. There are only a few ingredients and you can easily customize it. As long as you are careful with your technique, you can easily have a homemade sponge cake in no time.
I used a recipe from this site. It’s a really fun site that also explains a lot of the conversions. It also has fun history facts about some of the ingredients, which is super cool if you are a food nerd like me. But I won’t make you do the math. Here is the American conversions for the recipe. You can find superfine sugar at most large grocery stores. The Domino brand is especially easy to find.
1 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup of superfine sugar
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
Raspberry preserves and powdered sugar to serve
Preheat the oven to 325. Cream butter and sugar together. The website explains that you want to do this, “until you get a pale, fluffy mixture that drops off the spoon easily”. Beat the eggs, adding them into the butter and sugar mixture a little at at time. It is important to do this slowly. The best way to do this is add about a tablespoon of egg, then beat. Add another tablespoon of egg, then beat. Keep repeating until all the egg is incorporated.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Again, take your time folding this in. Fold in lemon zest and juice. Make sure the mixture can slide off the back of a spoon. If your mixture is a little too thick, add more lemon juice.
Line 2 8-inch round cake tins with parchment paper. Grease if you are worried. Fill the tins evenly with mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake WILL fluff up. Thats good. 🙂 They will be springy in the center when done. The most common way to serve this is with a thin layer of raspberry preserves between the two cakes, the sprinkled with powdered sugar.