Here we are at my thirtieth blog post on Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding. Almost two thousand views and a lot of caster sugar later, I feel like I am starting to get a hold on this blogging malarkey. I lie in bed dreaming of new things to bake, photograph and write about. I write baking lists on a regular basis. I’m always in the sugar aisle in Tesco. And yet, I still haven’t got round to showing you the eponymous cake in my blog title. The classic and irresistible Victoria Sponge.
It is the staple for any cake baker really. Filled with jam and cream, it is the essence of afternoon tea. It’s the basis for great butterfly cakes and the now ridiculously-fashionable cupcakes. Covered with fondant and decorated accordingly, it can be a wedding, birthday or christening cake. And for me, my tried and tested favourite is from Kitchen Magic, my go-to cookbook by one of my food-writing idols, Gizzi Erskine.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics. I was an avid reader of the Be-Ro book from the age of 8. That little paper booklet has seen me try my hand at cookies, scones, and gingerbread men. It was my starting point for the Pease-family-favourite, Lemon Meringue Pie. But the Victoria Sponge recipe was a bit of a challenge. Sometimes it would be glorious. Other times it would be overwhelmingly eggy, too thin and pretty dry. Personally, I find the 4, 4, 2 ratio method slightly outdated, and love punctuating my sponge with vanilla paste, a drizzle of milk and a smidgen of baking powder to lift the sandwiches to (literally) new heights of culinary wonder.
As for the filling, creativity is key. I’ve drizzled this cake with home-made rosemary syrup. I’ve filled it with jam and served with a glass of Pimms on Kate and Wills big day in homage to his great-great-great-great-granny (and my namesake). And now I’ve cooked down some deliciously pink British rhubarb, folded in some double cream and used it as fuchsia-cake cement to add a modern take on the classic cream filling. Slice it up and share with a gin and tonic. I bet it’s what Queen Vicky would have wanted.
Victoria Sponge recipe adapted from Kitchen Magic by Gizzi Erskine
Rhubarb Cream recipe adapted from Rachel Allen
You Will Need
170g softened butter
170g caster sugar
3 large eggs
170g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
For the Rhubarb Cream
100g rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
4 tbsp water
75ml double cream
Icing sugar, to decorate
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 170oc/190oc fan/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two sandwich tins with baking parchment and set aside. Cream the sugar and the butter together with a hand mixer for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and mix until fully incorporated. The mixture may split at this point, but will come together again with the dry ingredients.
Sift in the flour and the baking powder, and fold in carefully with a metal spoon. Once incorporated, add the vanilla and milk to create a batter that falls off the spoon easily. Divide between the two sandwich tins and bake for 25 minutes until golden, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Carefully remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool completely.
To make the rhubarb cream, add the rhubarb to a saucepan and sprinkle over the sugar. Coat each piece of rhubarb well, then pour in the water. Cover the pan and place over a medium heat, cooking for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Remove the lid and boil the mixture whilst stirring, until thick and jammy. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool completely. Whip the cream to form soft peaks and gradually fold in the rhubarb. Place one cake on a serving plate and dollop the rhubarb cream in the middle. Spread evenly with a palate knife and top with the second sponge. Sift over some icing sugar to decorate, then slice and serve.