Let me dispel a few myths. You don’t need to be any sort of domestic goddess to make a good Victoria sponge. You don’t even need much time. If you have all the ingredients in the house, you should have it all prepared and in the oven in under 5 minutes. And the washing up is courtesy of the dishwasher.
I am not sure that any cook can honestly claim the rights to a ‘recipe’ for a Victoria Sponge, as the ingredients and quantities seems to be almost identical in a number of cook books. On this subject I am slavishly devoted to the teachings of Ms Lawson in her first (and to me her best) book, How To Eat. Since I first made this speedy, all in one, processor method of making a Victoria Sponge, I have resisted the siren call of all other cookery prophets and remained loyal to this easy peasy never fail recipe.
To those of you that buy your cake in the supermarket, or make your cake from a packet mix, I would like to prevail upon you to cast aside your prejudice and to try this, just once. You will not look back. You are likely to have everything you need without even stepping into a shop. Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, Jam. All storecupboard staples.
Just follow a few simple rules and you cannot go wrong
- Use the size of tin that is recommended or the cooking times will change
- Know your oven temperature. They can vary widely. Cooking it at the right temperature is key.
- Relax. Even if it does not look as pretty as a shop perfect cake, the first bite will have you hooked.
- To make life easier I use pre-cut cake tin liners. This saves the step of greasing and lining the tin..
So successful and easy has this cake been, I have made it on numerous occasions, to cheer up a sad friend, to fuel a tired new mum, and when I am calling in on friends for coffee and realise I have not even a packet of biscuits to take. And I made it for myself twice a week, when I was an almost sleepwalking tearful and tired new mum, just to give me something to look forward to in the afternoon.
A few tips
- The recipe suggests room temperature/soft butter. Not many people are so well prepared that they get the butter out of the fridge a day early in anticipation. I use the defrost facility on the microwave, until it gets soft but not runny and melted. It takes about 60 seconds on defrost in my microwave. Try it in 20 second bursts. You are looking for a glossy, gooey, about to melt texture.
- I recommend keeping your eggs in a cupboard at room temperature, then you don’t have to remember to take them out in advance.
- If you are using fridge cold milk I would recommend 15 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off.
You can find Nigella’s recipe at page 26 of her book.
I have adapted the quantities to suit the size of tins that I have (18cms)
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (or 160 degrees for a fan oven)
6 oz or 170g plain flour
6 oz or 170g soft unsalted butter (but you can use salted if thats all you have – it just alters the taste a little)
6 oz 170g sugar
3 large eggs – if you only have medium eggs just add a little more milk
2tbsps (ish) milk.
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not essence)
Place all ingredients into processor. Blend until combined, adding enough milk to give the mixture dropping consistency.
Put in oven for 25 minutes. If you are not sure if it is cooked put in a skewer (or knife if you don’t have one). If it comes out clean (ie without sticky cake mixture on it) it is done.
Once the cakes are out of the oven, leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cake rack (or grill rack if you don’t have one)
Allow to cool for about 45 minutes.
Add jam to one sponge then put them together. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Serve
I don’t generally add whipped cream, unless I know it will get eaten that day, as it doesn’t keep well.If you have just used jam, it will keep in an airtight container for a few days.