A Royal Sponge Cake ~
No not me. Queen Victoria’s Sponge. After the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from society. Many in her court encouraged her to resume her civil duties by hosting royal tea parties at which a sponge cake would be served.
The cake was named after her and became fashionable throughout Victorian England. It has been passed down through generations and is still a tea time favorite.
Traditional sponge cake is loaded with fat calling for equal amounts of butter and sugar. Whipping the egg whites separately gives the cake that light and fluffy texture. The cornstarch acts like a custard powder without any preservatives or artificial yellow food coloring.
This is a great light cake you can prepare at home and assemble when you get there, wherever “there” maybe. To the cabin for the weekend, or down the street to your neighbor’s party. Or especially for your own Ladies Afternoon Tea gathering.
Queen Victoria’s Sponge Recipe:
Traditionally this sponge is filled with strawberries and whipped cream or strawberries and jam. There are many modern variation:
- Any of your favorite fruit and yogurt or whipped cream/jam.
- A fruit of your choosing and a geek yogurt instead of whipped cream/jam.
This recipe makes 8 servings.
- 3 eggs
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup sugar or sugar substitute
- ½ cup corn starch
- 2 tsp flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Sliced fresh fruit or jam
- 1 cup whip cream or non fat greek yogurt, mixed with honey to taste.
- Powdered Sugar for decoration
- Separate eggs. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff.
- Add sugar gradually and beat until sugar has dissolved.
- Add egg yolks. Beat until well blended.
- Sift together cornstarch, flour and baking powder. Fold into the mixture (this is very important, don’t short cut this step).
- Pour into an 8 inch greased and lined cake pan. (Lined means to flour the pan after its greased)
- Bake at 350ºF (190ºc) for 15-20 min or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Leave in cake pan for 10 min before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Slice cake in half so you now have two layers. A long serrated knife will do the trick.
- Spread your preferred filling on the bottom layer (jam or strawberries and cream) and top.
- Dust the top of your cake with powdered sugar.
This is a very easy cake to make and you don’t need any special skills to decorate it. Since the top is heavily covered with powdered sugar, you can easily decorate it. Consider placing a paper doily on the top of the cake, then sprinkle the powdered sugar to create a lacy pattern.
Of the traditional decoration has been replaced with a variety of options today. You can lightly ice the top with vanilla or chocolate icing and place slices of your fruit of choice on top in a decorative pattern. I’ve seen some sponge cakes with an icing top, and a variety of nuts. I’ve even seen a sponge cake cut and divided with 8 different decorations on each individual piece.
However you decorate your cake, keep it refrigerated until serving. And store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container so it won’t dry out. Good luck and happy tea & cake time.