As part of my English Afternoon Tea spread, I always bake a 6″ size Classic Victoria Sponge Cake.This is a good cake especially with home made strawberry jam. It is at its best served on its own with just a pot of tea.

The cake was pretty much gone in a flash. No, the dog did not have cake. The dog does not eat cake. I am sure the dog wished it could eat cake.

Victoria Sponge Cake With Homemade Strawberry Jam

Prep: 20 minutes 
Cook: 30 – 35 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Intermediate
Makes: ~8 slices
Oven Temperature: 340 F (170C)
Can recipe be doubled? No
Make ahead? Yes, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Ingredients

3 and 1/2 oz (100g) unsalted butter, softened
3 and 1/2 oz (100g) caster sugar
3 and 1/2 oz (100g) weight of eggs without shells,beaten, ~ 2 medium size eggs)
3/4 cup (3 and 1/2 oz) (100g) self raising flour
OR
To make self-raising flour:
If using measuring cup: Fill the bottom of measuring cup with 1 and 1/8 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoon salt, top up with enough all-purpose/plain flour to reach 3/4 cup. If using kitchen scale: Add 1 and 1/8 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then top up with flour to reach 3 and 1/2 oz (100g).
1/4 teaspoon salt*
The buttercream filling
1 oz (30g) unsalted salted butter, softened
2 and 1/2 oz (75g) icing sugar**
The strawberry filling
Strawberry jam for spreading or use homemade strawberry jam (look under ‘Tips‘ section at the bottom of this post for recipe)
* Omit if you are using salted butter.
** You must sift the icing sugar or your buttercream might turn out lumpy.

Method

1. Before starting, all your ingredients, flour, butter, sugar, eggs and salt (if using) must be at room temperature.
2. Turn on the oven to 340F (170C), oven racked positioned lower middle.
3.Prepare two 6″ (15cm) round cake tins by lining the bottoms with a circle each of parchment paper and then grease the insides of cake tins with butter. Set aside.
4. With machine at medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stop machine, scrape bottom and sides of mixer bowl to ensure even mixing. Mix another 1 minute. At this point, your batter should leave a ribbon trail when you lift your beaters/whisk up. All this should take you about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. With machine at low-medium speed, add half of eggs and beat 1 minute.  Lift beaters/whisk and use a spatula to scrape bottom of bowl to quickly and evenly incorporate batter.
6. Turn on machine back to low-medium speed, add remaining eggs and beat 1 minute. Stop machine, scrape and incorporate again.

7. Remove mixer bowl. If you are using unsalted butter, you need to add salt to the flour now. With a long metal spoon or spatula gently sift and fold in flour in 3 intervals. This usually takes me 1 minute. Flour has to be almost and not completely incorporated into batter before you add in the next batch of flour.
8. Refer to image below. Incorporating first 1/3 of flour. Flour clearly visible on batter.

9. Incorporating second, 1/3 of flour. A little less flour visible on batter.

10. Incorporating flour the third time. Almost no flour is visible on batter but there will be flour on the sides of the bowl.

11. Incorporate the flour on the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Just a few quick scrapes will do.

12. Distribute batter into the 2 cake tins. Level the batter out. They will look pathetically squat. It is fine. These are not chiffon cakes.
13. Bake at 340F (170C) for 30 to 35 minutes.
14. To test if cake is done, insert a skewer. If it comes out clean, it is done.  Alternatively, very lightly press the centre of the cake, if it springs back without feeling like you just touched something semi liquid, it is done. The circumference of the cake would have separated ever so slightly from the sides of the cake tin. Remove to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before removing from cake tins. Do not peel off parchment papers.

Making Buttercream
1. While waiting, place soften butter and sifted icing sugar into mixer bowl. Attached whisk attachment and whisk until you get a spreadable icing consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Assembling
Have the following items ready:
(1) Plate or cake stand where your cake will be served
(2) 2 palette or butter knives for spreading
(3) Strawberry jam, room temperature
(4) Buttercream icing
(5) 7″ square of parchment paper

1. Choose the cake that will be used for the top piece. Set that aside.
2. Remove the parchment paper off the other cake, invert the cake (top of cake will face the cake plate) and set it on the cake plate.
3. Use the knife to spread inward out, an even layer of buttercream icing on this cake. You do not have to use up all the buttercream. I had about 1 to 2 Tablespoons left.
4. Loosen up the strawberry jam with the knife. Gently dollop jam on top of icing and spread it inward out in an even layer. Set aside.
5. Invert the other cake on to the 7″ square of parchment paper.  Peel off parchment paper stuck to bottom of the cake. Spread a thin layer of jam on the side where you peeled off the parchment paper. With the help of the 7″ square of parchment paper, lift this cake and sandwich it over the other cake. You have yourself a Classic Victoria Sponge Cake.

Tips

This cake tastes best with home made strawberry jam which is easy to make. This is the way I make mine.

Recipe for about 1 cup of jam:

1.1 lbs (500g) strawberries; 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar or jam sugar (it has added ‘pectin’ in it that helps set the jam and produces a slightly thicker consistency similar to store bought jam).

Hull strawberries. Place strawberries and then sugar in a nonstick pot over medium high heat. After about 2 to 5 minutes, it will probably be a good time to stir. Boil away another 5 minutes. By this time the strawberries will look swollen. Take out your potato masher or use the back of a spoon to break up strawberries. Let it boil another 10 to 15 minutes. Some foam would have formed. I just stir it back in when the jam is done.  It will look slightly thick but not quite jammy. I like my jam a loose consistency so when it looks like thick honey, I turn off the burner and take it off the heat. Cool completely and store in sterilised glass jars.

It keeps at least 3 weeks but only manages to last 2 weeks and only a day if I serve it with my Sweet Milk Scones.

Jam makers will tell you that for jam to reach the ‘set’ stage, the thermometer needs to register 220F (105C). There are other ‘set tests’ you can carry out. Google it. Lots of detailed explanations which I will not get into. With the very little sugar to fruit ratio that I use, it might not reach the recommended temperatures. You can take out your thermometers and use it if you like but I know how I like my jam. Do not try and cut down the sugar to anything less than 1/2 cup as it does play a part in getting the jam to the right consistency. Sweet and slightly tart. It tastes like fresh strawberry jam which it is. So much better than bottled jam.

How much do I like this jam? I have almost given up on strawberry filled jelly doughnuts because there is never enough jelly in it for me. Now, I buy plain doughnuts and scoop a quarter cup of my strawberry jam next to a doughnut. It keeps me happy. Oh, I also scoop it over vanilla ice cream. So satisfying.

Update: I have since put up a separate post for this recipe, Homemade Strawberry Jam. It goes into a bit more detail, has more photographs to guide you and I have included other recipes where you can use the Homemade Strawberry Jam. Click here, Strawberry Jam Simplified.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

I am done with my series on English Afternoon Tea! Have friends and family over and serve them the entire spread of English Afternoon Tea pictured here! Better still, have somewhat make it for you!

Top plate: Classic Victoria Sponge CakeCheckerboard Cookies, Sweet Milk Scones.
Bottom plate first layer: Egg and Cress, Roast Beef with BeetrootCrisp Cucumbers.
Bottom plate second layer: Roast Beef with BeetrootSalmon with Dill ButterHam with Honey Butter.             

In my next post, I am moving on to a savoury snack that I serve pre dinner when I have guests over. I tend to make big batches of the batter and freeze them in smaller freezer bags. I remove a bag, thaw it, snip of a corner of the plastic freezer bag and pipe it over hot oil. These little gluten free bites keeps everyone happy while I get dinner prepared. Sometimes I make a coconut or mint chutney to go with it or horror of horrors, I open a bottle of Prego Marinara and use that as a dip. Look out for my next post!

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