The Victoria sponge is perhaps the greatest afternoon teacake of all time. It can be sandwiched with jam or any seasonal fresh fruit along with cream. The secret to making a light cake is to beat the butter and sugar for a long time to trap as much air as possible.
- 180 gm self-raising flour
- 180 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped and softened
- 180 gm caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 200 gm strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced, plus extra, whole, to serve
- 2 tbsp pure icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 150 ml pouring cream
- 1Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and flour two 20cm-diameter sandwich tins. Sift flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Beat butter in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (5-6 minutes), then add sugar and beat until smooth and light (8-10 minutes). Add eggs one at time, beating well between additions and scraping down sides of bowl. Transfer mxture to a large bowl, sift in flour in two batches, folding to combine between additions, then fold in vanilla. Divide mixture between cake tins, smooth tops and bake until golden brown, and centres spring back when lightly pressed (15-20 minutes). Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- 2Combine strawberries and icing sugar in a bowl and set aside. Whisk cream to soft peaks in a separate bowl and refrigerate until required.
- 3To serve, place one cake upside down on a plate, spoon on cream, then strawberries, and sandwich with remaining sponge, top with extra strawberries and dust with icing sugar.