Queen Victoria’s favorite afternoon tea treat is now known as the Victoria Sponge Cake, a simple vanilla cake filled with strawberry preserves and cream. However, it was Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford and good friend of Queen Victoria’s, whom we have to thank for introducing the world to the ritual of afternoon tea, for the tradition may not have caught on had it not been for the queen’s adoption of the practice.
It is said that Anna Russel began taking tea with her friends in the afternoon, asking for simple treats to curb her hunger during the long interval between meals. Queen Victoria loved the practice, and the rest is history! Try our version of the Victoria Sponge Cake, which we think pairs perfectly with our Duchess of Bedford tea!
Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe
Makes 12 Servings
For the cake:
- 1 ½ sticks of butter at room temp.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
For the filling:
- ¾ cup good quality strawberry or raspberry jam
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan (8.5” x 4.5”).
- In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar until slightly fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, until well-blended. Beat in milk and vanilla.
- Add flour and salt and mix on low speed just until well-combined. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Spread the batter in the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick and bake longer if it doesn’t come out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- When ready to fill, cut the cake into slices and set aside into sets of two slices each.
- Whip the cream, sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt in a mixer until stiff peaks forms.
- Spread one piece of cake with jam. Top with a 1/2” thick layer of whipped cream. Place another slice of cake on top, creating a cake sandwich. Repeat with remaining slices. Cut each cake “sandwich” into fingers. You can cut off the crusts to form perfect rectangles if you like.