Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe: Rich in British Royal History

This Victoria Sponge Cake is an afternoon teacake recipe, favored by Queen Elizabeth, with a long British royal heritage. An easy-to-make, simple two-layer cake that’s lightly sweet, soft, and perfect! 

A simple, 2 layer Victoria Sponge Cake, layered with fresh strawberries and cream.

And perfect for your next afternoon tea.

But first, what exactly is a Victoria Sponge Cake?

Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake is a two-layer light confection. It’s generally assembled with a layer of jam topped with whipped cream.

Queen Elizabeth favors the sponge cake cut into finger size pieces, also called a Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake. It is a quintessential British teatime treat. 

You might also like to read more about Queen Elizabeth Afternoon Tea Recipes in this post filled with her favorite teatime recipes.

 

Victoria Sponge Cake, unsliced, on a white pedestal.

Victoria Sponge Cake History

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), was a lady in waiting of Queen Victoria. She is most often credited with the creation of Afternoon Tea.

It’s said she found herself with “a sinking feeling” about four o’clock every afternoon. It was then she began requesting tea and sweets to bridge the gap before a later dinner.

Soon, she began inviting her friends to join her at Belvoir Castle for a menu of tea, bread and butter sandwiches, and cake. 

It wasn’t long before Queen Victoria adopted the idea of an afternoon tea and by 1855, the observance was firmly established. It’s noted that the Victoria Sponge Cake was her favorite.

After the death of her husband, Prince Albert, it’s believed that favored cake was renamed, “Victoria Sponge Cake.” 

Queen Elizabeth says, “The Victoria Sponge was named after Queen Victoria, who regularly ate a slice of sponge cake with her tea, each afternoon!”

In Isabella Beeton’s 1874 cookbook called Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management a recipe is included for Victoria Sandwiches:

Victoria Sandwiches in Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book:

Ingredients:
“4 eggs; their weight in pounded sugar, butter, and flour; 1/4 salt, a layer of any kind of jam or marmalade.”

Mode:
“Beat the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour and pounded sugar; stir these ingredients well together, and add the eggs. When the mixture has been well beaten for about 10 minutes, butter a Yorkshire-pudding tin, pour in the batter and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.”

Serving:
“Spread one half of the cake with a layer of nice preserves, place over it the other half of the cake, press the pieces slightly together. Cut it into long finger-pieces; pile them in crossbars on a glass dish, and serve. Seasonable at any time.”

Cost:
“Average cost is 1s 3d.”

Queen Elizabeth and Victoria Sponge Cake

Royal Victoria Sponge Cakes served at Buckingham Palace

It’s often remarked that Queen Elizabeth favors a Victoria Sponge Cake for tea. 

In fact, Buckingham Palace has shared the official Royal Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe on their website. A traditional recipe we used as the basis for our version of Victoria Sponge Cake.

The Palace notes the sponge cake is served “to mark Royal Garden Parties,” and afternoon teas. 

Overhead view of the top of the Victoria Sponge Cake with strawberries and cream.

Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe for Afternoon Tea

As mentioned, we’ve deviated slightly from the traditional recipe of this teatime treat.

You will notice in the ingredients list, we’ve converted the recipe to a Victoria Sponge Cake using all-purpose flour and cup measurements.

Rather than assembling the cake with a simple layer of preserves and cream, we’ve added fresh strawberries for height and additional color. Plus, they add a beautiful, fresh flavor to the sponge cake too. 

Simple Victoria Sponge Cake Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder and salt
  • Unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
  • Granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vanilla extract and a dash of milk

Victoria Sponge Cake with a slice missing on a white cake stand.

How to Make a Victoria Sponge Cake

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F and placing a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

Then, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Next, using an electric hand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together until it’s light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Finally, add the milk. 

Now, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and spread to the edges of the pan.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. 

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Then unmold the cakes onto a wire rack and cool completely before assembling the cake.

More Afternoon Tea Recipes

A slice of Victoria Sponge Cake in the foreground, topped with a fresh strawberry, on a white plate.

A simple, 2 layer Victoria Sponge Cake, layered with fresh strawberries and cream.

Victoria Sponge Cake: A Teatime Classic

Yield: 8-10 servings

This Victoria Sponge Cake is an afternoon teacake recipe, favored by Queen Elizabeth, with a long British royal heritage. An easy-to-make, simple two-layer cake that's lightly sweet, soft, and perfect!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup (166g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
  • ¾ cups (175g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Victoria Sponge Filling

  • ½ cup (120ml) strawberry jam
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and line the bottom of 2 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a bowl with an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), cream butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and using a spatula, spread the batter to the edges of the pan.
  5. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. I begin checking the cakes at about 18 minutes. If the toothpick comes out completely clean, the cake could be on the drier side.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then unmold the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely before assembling the cake.
  7. While the cake is cooling, whip the cream and slice the strawberries.
  8. Assembling the Victoria Sponge Cake: Save the prettiest cake top for the top layer of the cake. Lay the less pretty cake on the cake stand with the flat side up. Spread the strawberry jam on the flat side of the cake, almost to the edges. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1/2 to 3/4 of the cream over the strawberry jam layer, reserving some for the top of the cake, and some for additional piping if desired. Put the reserved cream in a piping bag fitted with a large tip.
  9. Layer strawberries sliced lengthwise over the cream with the stem end facing outward.
  10. Place the second cake carefully over the fresh strawberries. Pipe additional cream between the strawberries if desired.
  11. On top of the cake, spread or pipe the remaining cream and place whole fresh strawberries. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 505mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

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