How do you describe a classic like the Victoria Sponge Cake? Well, for a start, it’s a classic. Secondly, it’s a light, airy cake that’s perfect as a summer dessert served alongside a cup of tea. Layers of classic pound cake separated by Chantilly cream and strawberry jam. My version mixes it up just a little bit – instead of using plain ol’ jam, I’m using a homemade balsamic strawberry reduction. Why? Because it’s delicious. Try it, you’ll see!
How goes it, bestie? It’s my mum’s birthday! Or it was. A few weeks ago when I baked this Victoria Sponge Cake (don’t call a Victoria Sandwich, please. That’s really weird. Seriously, who calls a cake a sandwich?). This year, both my mum and dad visited me – this is pretty rare as I come from a family of travellers, and the three of us are rarely ever in the same place at the same time.
Last year, I made my mum this Lemon Curd Cake with White Chocolate Swiss Buttercream, and it was a huge hit with everyone who tried it. Except one person. But it turned out that that person hates lemon curd.
Yeah… I don’t get how that’s possible either.
Some people are just… strange.
This year, I decided to make something a lot simpler. I liked the idea of a lighter cake, as my mum was literally arriving the night before her birthday (and was going to be attending a wedding on her birthday). I didn’t want an overly rich, heavy, multi-million-component, cake slowing her down.
My mother has always told me how she loves strawberries, and she always recalls that the first time I walked as a baby was for a strawberry. True story. We were visiting Los Angeles, and staying at The Hyatt. I was eleven months old. My father had ordered strawberries and cream from room service. And we had received these gigantic, delicious red strawberries. As the story goes, I saw the strawberries from across the room, and stood up and began walking towards them. Sure, I stumbled. I fell. But eventually…I got me a strawberry!
At which point my parents, imagine their excitement, began running from one side of the room to the other with the strawberries to make me walk again!
Once I decided on making a strawberry-based dessert, I narrowed my options down to two recipes that I had been meaning to work on. The first was an Eton Mess (which is a dessert that really should have featured more in my childhood given that I went to a British Prep school, and then a Boarding School in England); and the second, was this Victoria Sponge Cake with Balsamic Strawberries – it’s a recipe combination that’s been on my mind for over a year, but I’ve just never had the opportunity to put it all together.
Don’t worry bestie, the Eton Mess recipe will show up on my blog sooner or later too. But till then, check out this recipe for one of the most delicious chocolate cakes you’ve ever tried (it even has a whipped cocoa buttercream).
Just don’t follow me home.
That wouldn’t be cool.
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Cake Flour, sifted
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 450g Strawberries, hulled/halved
- Icing Sugar, for dusting
- 450g Strawberries, hulled / halved
- 2 tbsp White Sugar
- 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Whipping Cream
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 tbsp White Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Butter and line two 8-inch circular baking tins with parchment paper.
- Break eggs into a large mixing bowl; add sugar, cake flour, baking powder and softened butter.
- Mix together until combined. Make sure to not over-mix. The finished mixture should be what’s called a “soft dropping” consistency – that is, you should be able to scoop it, but it should still fall off a spoon easily.
- Divide the mixture evenly between baking tins. Smooth the surface of the batters, favouring the outsides slightly (as the centres tend to rise more).
- Place tins on the middle shelf of the oven; bake for about 25 minutes. The cakes should be golden-brown, pulling away from the edges of the tins, and cooked through.
- Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Run a palette knife around the inside edge of the tin and gently turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
- (If you want to skip this step, you can use a store bought strawberry jam. But make it a good one!)
- Mix strawberries, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Reduce the mixture over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Don’t stir too often, you don’t want the strawberries to breakdown and turn into mush.
- Reduce until the mixture meets your preferred taste and consistency (for me, this means the mixture reduces to just a little more than half it’s original volume). If you’re reduction becomes too tart, add a little sugar and/or water to fix.
- ("Chantilly" is fancy French-speak for a sweetened whipped cream. Don’t let it daunt you.)
- Vigorously whip sugar, vanilla extract, and whipping cream until soft peaks are formed.
- To assemble, place one cake upside down and spread the Chantilly cream, and then the balsamic strawberry reduction.
- Top with the second cake, top-side up. Spread Chantilly cream on top, and garnish using fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.