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Royal family's pastry chefs share tips for perfect Victoria Sponge cake

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 29/05/2020 Tilda Mallinson

Lockdown happened and the whole of Britain became semi-professional bakers: Bake Off is going to need a bigger tent.

Yeast became rarer than pasta, M&S invented Percy Pig Crispy Bites, and providing banana bread recipes became Google’s main job.

Now, the pastry chefs of Buckingham Palace have decided Britain is ready to attempt their official Victoria Sponge.

In an Instagram post seen by nearly 700,000 people, the royal family shared a recipe for the traditional sponge cake named after its own Queen Victoria.

a piece of cake on a table: (Steve Lupton/Corbis) © Provided by Evening Standard (Steve Lupton/Corbis)

Described as the recipe used for Buckingham Palace’s famous Royal Garden Parties, it is a no-fuss, relatively simple recipe with affordable ingredients.

Cake ingredients

  • Three eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g sieved self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 100g jam (strawberry or raspberry)

Cake method

  • Reheat the oven to 180C (375F, gas mark four)
  • Grease and line two eight-inch cake tins (if you only own one tin, you can bake the sponge and slice in half)
  • Cream the caster sugar, vanilla essence and softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy
  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs
  • Gradually add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, to avoid the mixture curdling
  • Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture. Divide the cake mix between the two cake tins and smooth
  • Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the cake appears golden brown
  • Insert a skewer and ensure it comes out clean. Remove the sponges from their tins and leave to cool

Butter cream recipe

Cream together 150g of softened, unsalted butter, with 220g of sieved icing sugar and wither a teaspoon of vanilla essence or a third of a vanilla pod.

Assemble the cake

  • Ensure both sponges are completely cold before spreading a layer of jam onto the surface of one sponge
  • Spread a thick layer of buttercream on top of the jam
  • Gently place the second sponge on top and gently press down
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with a pot of fresh English tea!

As an avid Victoria Sponge baker whose grandmother’s recipe has never failed to produce anything less than a perfect cake, I took great interest, and a little offence, at the suggestion there could be something better.

The good news is that the two recipes are almost exactly identical. My grandmother (Katie, better known as "Cakey" - you know you're in good hands) would simply add one tip: fold the flour with a metal spoon. It works.


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