Victoria Sponge Cake – Rich sponge
I think there is nothing better than a fresh, light sponge cake. If it is light enough there is no need for cream and rich fillings. The key is in the mixing at the beginning – much to the annoyance of my students when I force them to use wooden spoons rather than an electric mixer. Mixing by hand will increase your awareness as to how the mixture changes in the bowl.
A version of this recipe can be found in the first edition of Mrs Beetons’ Book of Household Management, published in 1861. The recipe is called ‘Victorian Sandwiches’. Unlike the familiar round cake that we see today it was made in a large square tin. Once cooked and cooled, the single square is cut horizontally and the two layers are then sandwiches together with raspberry jam. The cake was then cut into thin slices approximately 2cm thick and looking more like a ‘sandwich’.
The description ‘rich sponge’ describes a sponge that has a high proportion of butter and more typical of the British sponges rather than the fatless sponges often made in France and Italy. These usually make up part of a recipe where the sponge is served either with whipped cream or syrups rather than this stand alone sponge cake.