I first came across Victoria sponge cake, or Victoria sandwich as some people refer to it when I was living in the UK a few years ago. It is one of the most iconic teacakes that is typically served in the afternoon, in fact Victoria sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria, who ate a slice with her afternoon tea every day. Sounds like a great habit I could get used to easily!
This Victoria sponge cake recipe combines strawberries and cream that are sandwiched together in my super delicious, moist, and fluffy sponge cake! This cake has a moist, tender, and melt in your mouth texture with refreshing strawberry and cream filling, which makes the cake super creamy yet balanced in sweetness. Try Queen Victoria´s favorite cake!
My Top 5 General Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using milk instead of cream, using poor quality chocolate etc. will all have an impact on your baking
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts
Some important notes regarding the ingredients of this Victoria Sponge cake recipe
For the Sponge cake
- Oil: The sponge for the Victoria Sponge cake often made with butter however in this recipe we use oil instead! The biggest disappointment I often have with traditional butter based cakes is that they tend to firm up in the fridge and I like my cake soft and tender. The oil not only adds moisture to the cake, but it coats the flour which prevents gluten formation therefore the cake will get super tender even straight out of the fridge, how cool is that? Having said that, where structure is the priority, like in case of a huge wedding cake, perhaps butter is a better option. Other than that, I tend to chose oil based sponge whenever the cake needs to be refrigerated
- Sugar: Superfine sugar is the most appropriate choice especially at the stage when beating egg white into meringue however granulated white sugar can work fine too. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Majority of the sponge cake recipes call for beating whole eggs with sugar, however for the fluffiest really sponge like result I do recommend to beat the egg white separately into a meringue like texture then gently fold it into the mixture. Eggs must be on room temperature as always
- Flour: All purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cakes. They are so called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in delicate, tender texture. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Baking powder / soda: Actually none of these! Believe me, if you beat your egg yolk for min. 8-10 minutes until very pale and fluffy, in the meantime beat your egg white separately until shiny, stiff peaks, there is no need for extra rising agent in the recipe. It won’t get grainy, it won’t get heavy, in fact it will rise more evenly and definitely won’t crack on the top. You will manage to bake a 15 cm (6 inch) wide, 7 cm (3 inch) tall sponge cake with the help of 3 eggs and using the right technique
- Milk: Use milk at room temp, I prefer whole milk
I have a detailed Baking Guide about how to make tender, moist, tall sponge cake here. Below I am repeating all the important notes in case you are new to my sponge cake recipe.
For the filling
- Cream: Also known as whipping cream or double cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% , I usually use one that has 36% fat content. Avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”
- Icing sugar: This simple cream frosting is made with icing sugar. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Strawberry: For the jam fresh or frozen strawberry work perfectly fine, for the decoration use some fresh strawberries if available in your country
That is it! Victoria Sponge cake is super easy, no need to use tons of complicated ingredients or techniques.
8 tips regarding the technique of baking Victoria Sponge cake
1. How to make the perfect tall Sponge cake
First and foremost make sure you prepare all the ingredients and bring them to room temp, also prepare the tools such as 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan, Rubber spatula, Wilton cake strip (if using). You will also have to preheat your oven at least 15-20 minutes ahead.
As for the sponge cake process for this Victoria Sponge cake, it is super easy and quick however worth following a few simple rules!
- Beat together egg yolk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar (75 g) for at least 5 minutes until very pale, creamy and fluffy
- Beat in the rest of the wet ingredients; oil and milk (room temperature)
- Whip egg whites starting on low speed on your Stand mixer while adding the rest of the sugar (75 g), one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed and whip for about 5-8 minutes until stiff and glossy and the sugar completely dissolves. The meringue texture should be sort of early stiff peaks but do not overbeat into super hard meringue as that is a difficult texture to fold with rest of the ingredients
- While mixer is on preparing the meringue, sift flour into the egg yolk mixture then gently fold it in with a Rubber spatula just until combined, do not overmix. This mixture can get somewhat thick and can easily dry out so do not make it ahead.
- With the help of a Rubber spatula gently fold the egg whites into the flour egg yolk sugar mixture. Since the flour mixture is quite thick it’s worth first to loosen it up by ¼ of the whipped egg white mixture then very gently fold the rest of the egg white in
- Pour the batter into the prepared 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan
- Bake for approx. 60 minutes. Do not open the oven door in the first 45 minutes
- Flip the sponge cake upside down and let it completely cool on a Cooling rack
- Use according to cake recipe. This sponge will be rather tall so can be used either as a 2 tier or 3 tier cake
2. Cake pan to use to bake Sponge cake and how to prepare the Cake pan
There are 3 key considerations when choosing the right cake pan: size, side, material.
Regarding the size, I am using a rather small (15 cm=6 inch) diameter but tall (7 cm=3 inch) cake pan which is enough to make a tall sponge cake for a 2 or 3 layered cake and size-wise more than enough for a family. The side of the cake pan must be absolutely straight in order to bake a straight sponge. In regards to the material, I recommend stainless steel or aluminum, however, the cake pan preparation is very important in case of both.
Can I make this sponge cake in a smaller pan? Yes, you can but you will need to adjust the quantity (decrease)
Can I make this sponge cake in a bigger pan? Theoretically yes you can, but since it is a very tall sponge cake, the larger the pan the bigger the risk than it won´t bake properly plus you will need to increase the quantity of the ingredients as well as the baking time (increase)
How to properly do the cake pan preparation?
With the help of a pastry brush, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. The oil is only needed for the parchment to stick to the pan. What I love about this pan preparation is that even though it is a rather tall sponge cake, with the help of parchment paper it is always incredibly easy to release the cake from the pan. Make sure you do the cake pan preparation before starting to mix the ingredients!
3. What is the baking temperature to make Sponge cake
Two considerations regarding oven temperature; First one is the temperature on paper, if it’s too low, it won't bake especially this rather tall type sponge however if the oven temperature is too high, the sponge will rise too fast resulting in cracks on the top. I find the ideal oven temperature is 170C / 338F for this recipe. The second consideration is your REAL oven temperature, what do I mean by that? Check my oven for example:
16C / 60F difference is huge (and not unusual), it results in an increasing baking time of an extra 10-15 minutes. I can not highlight enough how important to get to know your own oven and purchase an inexpensive digital oven thermometer. It might not solve all the problems in the world but certainly will increase the chances to become a more successful home baker.
4. How to bake flat Sponge cake, how to avoid Sponge cake from doming and cracking on top
Especially in the case of naked cakes like this Victoria Sponge cake, it is very important that your sponge is flat, neat, and without cracks on top!
Cake pan strip is one of the biggest hacks in baking, I came across them a few years ago and it works like charm. Why use it? Read what Wilton has to say about their cake strips, could not agree more!
“Say goodbye to high-rise centers, cracked tops, and over-cooked cake edges. Just dampen Bake Even strips and wrap around the pan before baking. The moisture in the strips keeps the edges of the pan cooler for perfectly level and deliciously moist cakes—every time!”
I recommend either purchasing the Wilton cake strips or making your own using a paper towel and kitchen foil. I dump the homemade strip into the water the same way as Wilton explains and it works just fine.
On a side note, I actually like it if the sponge cake edge caramelizes a tiny bit so I usually remove the strip ¾ of the baking time, but you really don’t have to and strictly do not open the oven door before ¾ of the baking time. The key thing is to use some sort of cooling the edge method in order to avoid high-rise centers.
As mentioned above doming and cracking is mainly the consequence of too high baking temp and/or the side of the cake heating up too quickly.
What is too high oven temp? Well, it depends on your oven and the size of your baking tin. In my oven using a 15 cm / 7-inch cake pan, I recommend baking the sponge cake for about an hour at 170C / 338F.
Some other considerations to avoid the cake from doming and cracking on top:
- Make sure you get to know your oven and fully aware of its temperature, purchase an inexpensive digital oven thermometer
- Make sure you use the right size baking tin. Having too much cake butter in a too small baking means your cake “does not fit” into the tin and can cause again doming and cracking
- My recipe does not state rising agent like baking powder because the eggs will be supporting the rise of the sponge however too much rising agent eg. baking powder can also cause the cake too quickly to rise and crack
- Last but not least, sponge cake is very sensitive to temperature change, please make sure you do not open the oven door during baking as oven temp fluctuation can also cause issues on the cake
5. How to prevent Sponge cake from collapsing after baked
First and foremost, you have to make sure that the Sponge cake is well baked before taking it out of the oven as the under-baked sponge will collapse at room temperature.
How to check whether the sponge is ready-baked?
1. Check whether the toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean
2. Check whether the sides of the cake starting to pull away from the pan
3. Gently press the top of the cake, if the sponge springs back, it’s done
Pro Tip: You should cool the cake upside down. Until the cake is completely cooled, its structure hasn’t been set fully. Flipping it upside down ensures that it doesn’t collapse during the cooling process. Once completely cooled, it should easily pop out of the cake tin if you have done the cake pan preparation correctly.
6. How to properly whip cream that is stable to pipe
Making the cream frosting for this Victoria sandwich cake could not be easier, however, there are a couple of considerations you have to bear in mind:
- It is very easy to over beat heavy cream, I suggest to use an Electric hand mixer (and not a stand mixer) to avoid over beating
- Make sure that you use cream that has a high enough fat content, I suggest 36% - that is called heavy cream or double cream
- Cream must be very cold, please note that room temp cream won´t whip up
- Icing sugar tend to form lumps so make sure you sift it before using (no need tons of sugar). No need to use tons of sugar, good quality high fat content cold cream should be able to whipped up even without any sugar
- Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks but do not over whip it. While whipping heavy cream, remember that it will go through the following stages: runny, soft peak, stiff peak then it will break and few minutes later buttermilk separates and you can make butter. For this recipe make sure you stop at stiff peak so it will be easy to pipe the cream
- Move whipped cream into piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle eg. Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip and use it according to the recipe
7. How to make home made strawberry jam
Of course, you use store-bought strawberry jam, however, I really encourage you to make your own for this Victoria Sponge cake. It is super easy, quick, made of using 3 simple ingredients, and tastes a thousand times better than store-bought jams that often hardly have any fruit content.
Making homemade strawberry jam is literally cooking strawberries, sugar, lemon juice until the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Make sure that you cook the mixture long enough so the jam won´t be too runny, however, bear in mind that the mixture will further thicken as it cools. The amount of sugar will depend on the sweetness of the fruit you are using. I was using frozen strawberries and jam turned out to be just sweet enough, feel free to adjust the quantity according to your taste.
Let the jam cool to room temp, move it into a piping bag and use it according to the recipe.
8. How to assemble this Victoria sponge cake
Assembling a Victoria sandwich is rather simple, the cake traditionally consists of the following layers:
Sponge + Strawberry Jam + Cream + Sponge + Strawberry jam + Cream + Fresh strawberries
I suggest the following assemble process:
- Start with cutting the sponge cake into half horizontally. Use a measuring tape so the layers are even
- Apply ¾ of the strawberry jam on top of the first sponge layer
- Pipe ½ of the whipped cream on top
- Let the cake set in the fridge for 30 min . Meanwhile keep also the whipped cream in the fridge
- Carefully place the second layer of sponge on top of the cream
- Pipe the remaining ¼ of the jam onto the middle of the second layer sponge
- Pipe the remaining ½ of the cream around
- Decorate with fresh strawberries according to your liking
- Let the cake set in the fridge for an hour or two before cutting
Other Strawberry recipe ideas
Victoria sponge cake
- 450 g (3 cups) Strawberry fresh or frozen
- 130 g (⅔ cups) Granulated sugar
- 30 g (2 tablespoon) Lemon juice
- 300 g (1⅓ cups) Heavy Cream
- 50 g (½ cups) Icing sugar
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Make the sponge cake according to my detailed Baking Guide . Let the sponge cool to room temp before assembling
- Make the strawberry jam by cooking the ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat for approx. 30 min or until it thickens. Let is cool to room temp before using
- Whip the cream with icing sugar until stiff peaks. Make sure you monitor the consistency carefully and do not over whip the mixture
- Cut the sponge cake horizontally into half then start building up the cake from bottom to top
- Pipe half of the cream around the edge of the sponge then spread ¾ of the jam in the middle. Pop in into the fridge for 30 minutes to set
- Place the second layer on top and pipe the second half of the cream around the edge and spread the rest of the jam in the middle
- Decorate with fresh strawberries and dust with icing sugar