Recipe Recommendation: Victoria Sponge Cake

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When we think of summer desserts, visions of Victoria sponge cake tempt us into the kitchen. The Victoria sponge isn’t strictly a warm weather cake, but our favorite addition of fresh strawberries makes it especially appealing this time of year. Named after Queen Victoria, the cake, also known as a Victoria sandwich, is a classic at British teatime. Light and simple, it’s a lovely, versatile dessert to add to one’s repertoire, as it can accommodate a range of fillings, from jam to fresh fruit to cream and anything else you can imagine.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’ve tried several recipes for Victoria sponge cake, and our preferred one is from UK cooking doyenne Delia Smith. Her recipe may seem a little more complicated than others – mixing in one teaspoonful of egg at a time and patiently sifting and folding in small amounts of flour, for example – but her instructions are clear and ensure a good, fluffy sponge cake. Another important piece of advice: keep the oven door closed! As Smith warns, “crafty peeps halfway through … can cause the cakes to sink.”

Like most European cooks, Smith lists measurements by weight rather than volume. If you require a recipe with volume measurements, there is a good, basic Victoria Sponge Cake recipe in the book 1,000 Foods to Die For. A couple of notes on ingredients for American cooks: caster sugar is equivalent to superfine sugar, and icing sugar is confectioner’s sugar.

• Get the recipe: Victoria Sponge Cake, from Delia Smith

Traditionally, the cakes are sandwiched together with jam and cream and left un-iced. We like the easy, perfectly balanced combination of fresh strawberries, not-too-sweet strawberry jam, and whipped cream. The cake is simple enough that you can really dress it any way you want. Some ideas:

• Fresh berries or passion fruit
• Jam, such as homemade strawberry or good quality store-bought jam (We Love Jam’s Apricot Jam might be nice)
Lemon curd
Whipped cream
Clotted cream
Whipped Chocolate Ganache

(Images: Emily Ho)

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