Also called Victoria sandwich, is a very classic British cake. We had never had a good version of this cake. It was always a dump sponge, of which the texture is way too heavy, the jam is boring and the layer of cream too dense. Sometimes too sweet and served with a bad cup of tea. We still believe in this simple, comforting combination of flavours though. After trying this version proposed by Yotam Ottolenghi, we think there is hope!
Ottolenghi’s recipe relies on whipped eggs as the raising agent instead of adding chemical leaveners. It also employs melted butter, which results in a lighter and airy cake with a rich buttery texture. We recommend starting the preparation with the white chocolate cream – the more it cools down in the fridge, the easier it will be to whip.
Victoria SpongeCourse: Dessert, Tea, FikaCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod (keep the pod for the strawberry jam)
zest of 1 lemon (around 1 tsp)
60g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
- White chocolate cream
70g white chocolate
70ml double cream, plus an extra
120ml to finish
- Strawberry compote
250g hulled strawberries
70g caster sugar
1½ tsp lemon juice
reserved vanilla pod
150g hulled strawberries, sliced 0.5cm thick
1 tsp icing sugar, for dusting
- White chocolate cream
- Place the finely chopped white chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Put 70ml of double cream in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat (alternatively, you can warm it up in a microwave).
- Once it is starting to simmer, take it off the heat.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the consistency is homogenous.
- Let it cool down to room temperature and then cover with the cling film.
- Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (the colder it is, the better).
- Strawberry compote
- Place the roughly chopped strawberries, caster sugar, lemon juice and the empty vanilla pot in a small saucepan, mix well.
- Place over the medium heat and bring to boil.
- Reduce the heat to minimum and simmer for about 20min stirring regularly until the compote thickens.
- Skim the foam throughout the process (this will make the consistency clearer).
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Don’t forget to remove the empty vanilla pod!
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Line up a medium baking tray (around 35cm x 20cm) with baking parchment.
- The sponge batter needs to be mixed over a heat source, that will help egg mixture to increase its volume.
- Pour enough water into a medium saucepan so that it rises about 5cm up the sides.
- The bowl from your electric mixer, or just an ordinary heat resistant bowl, should fit in the saucepan and sit over the water without touching it.
- Bring the water to boil, then reduce to simmer.
- To make the sponge, place the bowl on the simmering saucepan and add the eggs, sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest.
- Whisk continuously using a hand whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is frothy, creamy and warm.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking with an electric mixer.
- Whisk on a high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and is no longer warm.
- In the meantime, melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and sift it twice (don’t skip this step, since this recipe relies on simple flavours, the texture of the sponge really matters).
- When the egg mixture has tripled in volume and is no longer warm, sift half the flour (yes, a third sift!) directly over the mixture and gently fold it in with a spatula until homogeneous.
- Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and fold in again.
- Drizzle the cooled, melted butter down the sides of the bowl.
- Fold in carefully to incorporate.
- Transfer the batter into a baking tin.
- Place it in the preheated oven and bake for 25min, until the colour has turned light golden brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the middle.
- Take it from the oven and set aside to cool for 20 minutes in the tin.
- Remove the sponge from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Take a cookie cutter (the diameter depends on how big your cakes want to be, we used 8cm).
- Take your chocolate cream and double cream from the fridge and combine. Whip it until thick, but don’t over beat it, it should just stick to the whisk.
- Cut the cylinders in half transversally. Spread a generous spoonful of the cream on the bottom part of the sponge, add strawberry compote and place the sliced strawberries on top.
- Cover with the remaining half of the sponge and dust with icing sugar to serve. We hope you like it!