A traditional Victoria sponge, what could be nicer? Well, this weekend I made the mistake of tinkering with my tried and true recipe and used the brilliant Dan Lepard’s suggestion of incorporating 1/3 of the flour into the creamed butter mix. Maybe I should just have gone with the Guardian’s recipe here in its entirety as I found the resulting cake to have a denser, drier crumb than usual (though in the interest of fairness, the recent adjustments to my KitchenAid may also have played a role).
There’s something pleasingly wholesome about a fairly plain, old-fashioned cake – although good butter and eggs really are essential when there’s no distracting glitz and glamour. Of course, you can gussy up the basic recipe and really go to town with the fillings and frostings or add essences and extracts to the batter, it’s entirely up to you. Personally, I love the simplicity of this cake as a counterpoint to all the triple Oreo, peanut butter, chocolatey, cookie dough stuffed confections that are so wildly popular at the moment (although those are terrific too!)
Anyway, made with the following method, this is a charming, buttery, jammy delight; an absolute classic and perfect with a pot of tea.
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam to fill
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 5
Grease a couple of 20cm sandwich tins, dust lightly with flour.
Cream butter and sugar until light and very fluffy. Add the eggs followed by the flour and vanilla. Mix lightly so as not to toughen the mixture. Alternatively, you could just bung it all in the food processor; in which case, add a teaspoon of baking powder. Spoon into tins and bake for around 20 minutes. You’ll know when they’re done as the cakes will shrink from the sides of the tins, they will feel springy to the touch and a toothpick will come out clean.
Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out.
Fill with jam and dust with icing – or caster – sugar.