The classic Victoria Sponge is simple and wonderful. Light sponge, sweet jam and silky whipped cream; it’s always a crowd pleaser. The traditional method of equal weights of butter, sugar, eggs and flour always works, so the only tweak in my version is that I add a little bit of cornflour into the mix - which creates an extra tender cake. And then this is dressed up as a triple layer cake with both blueberry and strawberry jam, plus a very British lion atop a mountain of fresh fruit; all elements that get this bake ready for a proper Jubilee street party celebration!
Tips to ensure this cake is extra tender, light and delicious: Make sure you cream the butter and sugar for a long time, beat well after adding each egg, don’t overmix after adding the flour, don’t overbake, and use soaked cake strips (this makes a really big difference and is easy to do).
Serves: 12-16 (You will need three x 23cm diameter cake tins - this makes a big cake fitting for a Jubilee street party!)
For the Victoria sponge:
400g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (soft and at room temperature)
Big pinch of salt
400g caster sugar
1 tbsp. of vanilla bean paste
400g eggs - weighed outside their shells (or about 7 medium eggs)
360g self-raising flour
40g cornflour (if you don’t have this, you can simply replace it with self-raising flour. The cornflour helps to make the sponge extra light)
3 tsp. of baking powder
3-4 tbsp. whole milk
For the filling and decoration:
120g good quality blueberry jam
120g good quality strawberry jam
600ml double cream
A big handful each of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
200g white fondant
Gel food dyes: yellow, brown, red, blue
Edible gold paint
Icing sugar (to dust)
Mini flag toppers
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan). Grease the base and sides of three 23cm round cake tins. Line the base with a circle of baking paper.
Add the butter, salt and sugar to a large mixing bowl, and use an electric whisk to beat until fluffy and pale in colour, scraping down the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything is whisked well. It’s important to not under whisk at this stage, in order to incorporate as much air as possible. Keep whisking until the mixture is no longer getting any paler in colour. Then, add the vanilla bean paste and whisk in.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. The mixture may look slightly curdled after adding the last egg simply due to the volume of liquid, but don’t worry about this - it’s normal.
Sieve in the self-raising flour, cornflour and baking powder. Fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula. Be careful to mix only until just combined; avoid overmixing as this will overdevelop the gluten and result in a tougher cake.
Add enough milk, until the mixture drops easily off the spatula when lifted up.
Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared tins. Ideally, wrap each cake tin in a damp tea towel (or use shop bought cake strips) - this will ensure your cake bakes and rises more evenly, rather than simply doming in the middle. If you don’t use cake strips, your cake domes will need trimming, so the overall cake will be flatter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes visibly come away from the sides, and an inserted knife comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for ten minutes, then turn them out on to cooling racks and peel off the baking paper.
Whilst the cakes are cooling, you can make the fondant lion (or take a break and use a plastic toy lion for the topper instead!). Use a toothpick in the body of the lion to help prevent it sagging down from the weight of the head. Then, attach the head, and add legs. Use brown fondant to make the mane and create the facial details and paws by following the image. Make a mini crown in white fondant, then paint it with edible gold paint.
When the cakes are cool, place one layer onto your serving plate, then spoon over the blueberry jam, spreading it to the edges. Whip the cream until soft peaks, and spoon a small amount into a piping bag. Cut a large opening (or use a large round piping tip), then pipe blobs of cream all around the circumference of the cake. Pipe or spoon the cream into the centre.
Tip: Fill your piping bag with small amounts of cream at a time - the squeezing action can cause the cream at the top of the bag to end up overwhipped if the bag is filled up too much.
Place the second layer of cake on top, and repeat - this time using the strawberry jam. Place the third layer of cake on top and dust the whole cake with icing sugar. Then spoon the remaining cream into the centre, and top with a pile of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Place the lion on top of the mountain of fruit and decorate with mini flags for a proper Jubilee street party celebration!