A Victoria Sponge or Victoria Sandwich cake is a quintessential British cake. Named for Queen Victoria, it is a simple cake. The kind of treat you bring out for tea. You'll find purists on all sides with some swearing whipped cream should never come between the jam and the cake, while others wouldn't dream of skipping the cream. Really, both ways are delicious. You could even thumb you nose at tradition and add fresh strawberries or raspberries. Because of its simplicity, you should use your best ingredients for this recipe.
225 g / 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, partitioned into 4 equal amounts and softened
4 large eggs at room temperature
1⁄2 cup / 125 ml whole milk at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons good quality raspberry jam
2/3 cup of whipping cream (optional: you can skip the the cream or make more if you love whipped cream)
Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 350F
Butter 2 x 8" cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper
Combine eggs, milk and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
Sift cake flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in sugar and salt.
Using the beater attachment, add the first amount of partitioned butter to the dry ingredients and mix at low speed. Once the butter is mixed in, increase the speed of the mixer to medium for 10 seconds. Reduce speed to add the second amount of butter and increase speed to medium for 10 seconds. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture. You're looking for a wet sand texture.
Add half the milk, eggs, and vanilla mixture to the butter/flour mixture, beat until incorporated. Add the remaining wet mixture, then beat on medium speed until smooth. Keep an eye on this, as soon as the mixture appears mostly smooth, stop beating, Over-beating can lead to a tough cake.
Divide the batter between cake pans, smoothing the surfaces.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. A cake tester or skewer should come out clean, but still a bit moist.
Allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes and then carefully remove cakes from the pans. Let cakes cool completely before assembling.
To assemble the cake, set one sponge crust-side down on a serving plate. Evenly spread the sponge with the 6 tablespoons of raspberry jam.
If you're adding whipped cream, whip the cream until it thickens and soft peaks form. Spoon the cream onto the cake and then gently smooth it evenly over the jam. Top with the second sponge, crust-side up, and dust with superfine or icing sugar.
This cake is nicest served room temperature, however it should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.