Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe ~ this Victoria Sponge, aka Victoria Sandwich, is a British afternoon tea cake made with fresh whipped cream and raspberry jam sandwiched between two layers of fluffy yellow cake.  It’s really hard to resist.

The tradition of British afternoon tea began in the mid 1800s, during Queen Victoria’s reign.  The story goes that the classic Victoria Sponge was invented to lure the Queen out of hibernation and back into social life after the death of her husband, Prince Albert.  This cake has been a staple at afternoon tea in England ever since.  It’s such a simple cake, and one that everybody loves.

The Victoria Sponge is up there with CLOTTED CREAM and SCONES in the lexicon of the perfect afternoon tea. 

Do you know the difference between a sponge cake and a pound cake?

  • Sponge cake and pound cake are cake cousins, their ingredients are similar but not the same: flour, eggs, and sugar for traditional sponge cakes, and add butter for pound cakes,
  • A traditional sponge cake is made with separated eggs, with the whites whipped, so it has a lighter, ‘spongier’ texture.
  • Traditional pound cake is made from equal weights of butter, flour, eggs, and sugar,
  • Both recipes are quite old, going back centuries, but in modern times there are lots of variations on those original themes.

yellow cake layers cooling on a rack for Classic Victoria Sponge Cake

I decided to use a yellow cake mix for this Victoria Sponge.  It’s not technically a ‘sponge’, but I chose it for convenience, and because I think it has the perfect texture for this recipe.  I doctored the mix with a few tricks and I think it has a superior texture to many homemade cakes.  Using the cake mix means this Victoria Sponge is a fabulously quick project, and it stays fresh longer, which is always a plus.

This is a fun cake to put together ~ once your cake is baked and cooled you’ll flip over the bottom layer to get a flat surface, and then pile on sweetened whipped cream.  The jam is spread thickly on the second layer, which you’ll (gently!) flip over on top of the first.  Or vice-versa!

I wasn’t expecting to love this quite as much as I did ~ I’m normally more a fan of richer, chocolatey cakes…but this one took me by surprise.  The texture of the cake is so light that it doesn’t overwhelm the filling, and the vanilla flavor along with the tartness of the jam is wonderful.  You can’t go wrong with this one.

TIPS for a perfect Victoria Sponge Cake:

  • Don’t beat the cake mix with electric beaters or a mixer, even thought the box tells you to do so.  I use a whisk and then a silicone spatula.  Small lumps are fine.  This produces a cake with a more homemade texture.
  • Use a nice tart jam for the filling, it makes a big difference.  Raspberry worked better than strawberry for me.
  • Don’t skimp on the jam or the whipped cream, a nice thick filling is important.
  • Use a large sharp knife and don’t press too hard when slicing the cake or your soft filling will squish out.  I went in point first and used a small back and forth motion to cut cleanly without too much collateral damage ;)  A little bit of squishage is ok, and part of the charm of this cake.

Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Category: dessert

Cuisine: British

Yield: serves 8-10

Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or one cup whole milk with a squeeze of lemon added, set aside for 15 minutes before using)
  • 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
  • one box 2-layer yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
    filling
  • I cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup good raspberry jam
    garnish
  • confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (325F for dark coated pans)
  2. Lightly spray 2 8 or 9 inch nonstick cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper at the bottom.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Then whisk in the cake mix, mixing until everything is combined and there are no large lumps...small lumps are fine.
  4. Turn the batter into the cake pans. Bake 8 inch pans for 26-31 minutes, and 9 inch pans for 23-28 minutes, or according to your box instructions. The cakes will feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out dry. Check them on the earliest time.
  5. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes on a rack, then turn them out of the pans and let them cool completely on the rack.
  6. Meanwhile whip the cream and confectioner's sugar until it holds stiff peaks.
  7. When the cake is cooled, place one layer flat side up and spread with a thick layer of jam. Spread the whipped cream on top of the jam, and then place the second cake layer on top of that, flat side DOWN. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar just before serving.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/classic-victoria-sponge-cake-recipe/

Make this Victoria Sponge Cake your own ~

  • Definitely try fresh berries if you like, either sandwiched inside the cake, or decorating the top.
  • Many different jams would work well here, including a nice marmalade.  Let your imagination go.
  • You could soak the cake layers in a little liqueur before adding the jam and cream.
  • You can make a gluten free version using your favorite gluten free flour mix.

 

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Anne
    June 24, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I made this for our monthly church luncheon and it was a hit! One lady said, “your cake makes me happy”.
    I have made quite a few of your recipes and have NEVER been disappointed. So glad I found your site.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 24, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Wish you could see the smile on my face as I read this :) Thanks Anne.

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    April 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I made this for a baby shower tea party and served other desserts along side. Many people looked at this and thought they would pass this up it because it looked so simple and wasn’t frosted-I think they must have thought I was too lazy to frost this! However, this was EVERYONE’S favorite of the afternoon! Something as simple as boxed cake mix was delicious. I used a powdered buttermilk product and smart balance oil and Bon Maman raspberry preserves. This baked up so beautifully-it reminded me of golden bread loaves. I didn’t get the usual golden bubbles flecked on the sponge tops. I also made the sponges a day ahead and wrapped them in parchment and plastic wrap-they kept beautifully! Thank you for such a simple, yet delicious dessert!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 23, 2018 at 10:52 am

      I love this Genevieve ~ you know I’m the same way with cakes, if it’s not frosted I’m not interested, which is exactly why this cake was such a pleasant surprise for me too! I’m interested that the powdered buttermilk worked well, that’s a help.

  • Reply
    Annie
    April 10, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for this! After moving from California sea level to high altitude Utah, I’d given up baking my cakes from scratch. Duncan Hines mixes provide high altitude instructions and haven’t failed me yet. This will work – and I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 10, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      It’s so true, a good cake mix comes through every time :)

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I have a house full of sick people, all suffering in various stages of a nasty cold, myself included. You made us all very happy with this beautiful cake. I wish I could post a picture for you. I appreciate how easy it was to make. I also appreciate that it must be eaten in one day because of the whipped cream. I’m telling everyone that it won’t keep so have as much as you like. Just the thing with a nice cup of tea. I feel so much better already!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 10, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      So sorry to hear your house is under the weather, and I’m so glad you’re starting to feel better :)

  • Reply
    Denise P
    April 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    In the area in England I’mfrom this is called Victoria Sandwich cake. (Living stateside now.) It is always a part of my afternoon tea table. I will admit that I almost stopped reading and clicked away when you said you used a yellow cake mix. Of course I immediately thought, “Then it isn’t a sponge!” But, I decided to read on and I have pinned it to try sometime, before I render final judgement. I did however rename it – dropped the word Classic, since it’s not, and called it Victoria Sandwich. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Point taken Denise ;) Like I said, I tried two other sponge cake recipes and wasn’t thrilled with the results, which is why I went to the box mix, partly because I was tired of trying, and partly because, having grown up on Duncan Hines mixes, I knew they would come through. Let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 7, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    So gorgeous! I love your perfect layers, this is the prettiest sponge cake I’ve ever seen! :)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I fell in love with Victoria Sponge Cake the first time I visited London. I love your version, so easy!

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    April 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I never thought of myself as a sponge cake person but I think you have changed that! Bring it on!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I have always wanted to make a Victoria Sponge! Looks delicious :) Will be adding this to my baking list.

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    April 7, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I love a classic Victoria Sponge. Just looking at this makes me want to go back to England immediately! What a wonderful treat with tea. Your recipe looks wonderful!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2018 at 10:00 am

      I lived in England for a while Jenni, but never had it there!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    April 7, 2018 at 8:50 am

    This is my kind of cake! Simple, beautiful and with plenty of flavors melding together in one amazing bite!

  • Reply
    Judy
    April 7, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Sue such a beautiful post and recipe. The first time I heard the term sponge was on The British Baking Show (I’m and addict) so now I have no excuse but to try to bake my own! I too love to use cake mixes when I can so kudos to you for making this recipe a bit easier for all of us. This cake will be perfect for our next community potluck in the neighborhood. I will really be able to show off. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Judy, and I’m a fan of the British Baking Show too! I love this cake with the cake mix, and we actually tried it with two different homemade cakes and weren’t satisfied, so I can really stand behind this one.

      • Reply
        Alene
        April 7, 2018 at 9:44 am

        And the gluten free link took me right to Paul Hollywood! Lolol!

        • Reply
          Sue
          April 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

          :)

  • Reply
    Jill
    April 7, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Now I am craving a slice of this cake to go with my coffee this morning. Pinned to try!

  • Reply
    linda spiker
    April 7, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Beautiful cake! Love that filling!

  • Reply
    Claudia Lamascolo
    April 7, 2018 at 7:02 am

    I can eat that whole cake and all of them you make are divine!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2018 at 7:05 am

      Haha, thanks Claudia, this cake is so surprisingly light, I think I could do the same.

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 7, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Save me a large slice! It looks so fresh and tempting!

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