Dish of the Week: The Perfect Victoria Sponge

THE PERFECT VICTORIA SPONGE

Priding themselves as having the best cake counter in London, the Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Rooms is a private vintage tea room in West London, in a little nook called Brook Green. The beautiful 1920s themed setting brings together all that is quintessentially British with a sprinkle of Hollywood glamour.

And what else is more British than the Victoria sponge cake? The original late 119th-century recipe by Mrs Beeton has survived two World Wars and now stands as an art form in-itself; the Women’s Institute offers rosettes to whose sponges that pass their high-standards of baking. So, today Betty Blythe’s own Founder, the UK’s no.1 expert on Street Parties and author of Style Me Vintage Tea Parties, Lulu Gwynne, shares her favourite victoria sponge recipe for us all to enjoy...

SERVES 6-8

225 g/8 oz/1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

225 g/8 oz/1 1/8 cups caster (superfine) sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Finely grated zest and juice of a lemon

Serves 6-8

225 g/8 oz/scant 1 2/3 cups self-raising (self-rising) flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

FOR THE FILLING

150 g/5 oz good-quality strawberry jam

250 g/9 oz/1 ¾ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 vanilla pod (bean)

300 ml/ 10 fl oz/1 ¼ cups double (heavy) cream

1 ½ tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

Icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Grease and line 2 x 17 cm/6 ½” in loose-based cake tins, then grease again with butter and coat with 2 tbsp of the sugar to crisp the edges of the cake.

Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining sugar and the butter together until pale and light. Beat in the eggs a little at a time to make a mousse-like consistency, then finely grate in the zest of the lemon (reserving the juice for the filling). Fold in the flour using a wooden spoon and divide the cake mixture between the two prepared tins, spreading out the mixture gently. Bake for about 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool.

To make the filling, warm the jam in a pan over a low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the sliced strawberries. Carefully score the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out all the seeds. Pour the cream into a bowl, add the caster sugar and vanilla seeds, then squeeze in the reserved lemon juice. Whip until you have nice soft peaks. Spread the jam and strawberries mixture evening over one layer of the cake, then spread the sweetened cream over the top of the strawberries. Place the second half of the cake on top, with the pretty side facing up, and dust with icing sugar before serving.

www.bettyblythe.co.uk

https://lady.co.uk/sites/default/files/styles/facebook_teaser/public/featured-images/betty20blythe20283220of205929_copy.jpg?itok=iKtNzOOs&c=b9a7ada2ebe99d2b8ee0d1d06c68b3db