The Victoria sponge is a stalwart of British Summertime; layers of light sponge sandwiched with fruit and cream conjure up seasonal nostalgia, memories of Summer birthdays and village fêtes. This variation from Ruby Tandoh’s amazing book, Crumb, is a twist on the British baking staple with a moist elderflower-soaked sponge, sweet homemade strawberry jam and elderflower cream. The strawberries really complement the delicately fragrant elderflower and would make the perfect treat this Midsummer. To make it, you will need:
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml elderflower cordial.
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/ Fan 160C/ Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins.
2) Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
In another bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
Add a third of the flour and one egg to the butter mixture and stir to combine.
Repeat until all of the flour and eggs are incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla extract and milk.
3) Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for around 15 – 20 mins, or until golden brown and beginning to shrink from the sides of the tin.
4) Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack.
Drizzle over the elderflower cordial and leave to cool completely.
5) While the sponges rest, prepare the strawberry jam and filling. You will need:
250g strawberries, hulled and chopped into quarters
250g granulated sugar
Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
150ml double cream
45ml elderflower cordial
Caster sugar, to dust.
Combine the fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a large pan and place over a low heat.
Heat until the fruit begins to soften and release its juices.
Let the mixture bubble for 10 – 15 minutes stirring regularly.
To check whether the jam has reached ‘setting point’ either use a sugar thermometer (and monitor when it reaches 104C) or use the old-fashioned test. Once the jam has simmered for 10 minutes, place a small amount on a cold plate. Return the plate to the fridge for a minute or two then slowly push your finger through the layer of jam – if it wrinkles as you push, then it is ready to set.
Leave the jam to cool for 15 minutes to allow the fruit to settle (this makes it evenly distributed). Pour into a sterilised jar and allow to cool completely.
6) Whisk together the cream and elderflower cordial until just thick enough to spread.
7) Once the cake and jam are at room temperature, spread one half of the cake with the jam, dollop the cream on top and then sandwich with the other layer.
Dust with caster sugar and serve.
The cake is best eaten soon after baking, as the cream will turn if out of the fridge and the cake will start to go stale if stored in the fridge! I’m willing to bet that it won’t hang around for too long though…
What are you baking this weekend? Are you baking anything for Midsummer or for Father’s Day?