Victoria sponge cake is an all-time classic and the easiest cake ever- as long as the ingredients are weighed correctly, the oven is the right temperature, and you don’t open the door until the cake is cooked, there’s no way you can go wrong.
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175g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
175g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla essence (you could also use the seeds from one vanilla pod)
175g self-raising flour
For the filling
2 tbsp strawberry jam (or any jam of your choice)
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/350°f/Gas mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm circle tins with baking parchment.
2. Beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, and there is no grainy texture from the sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula to make sure all the sugar is mixed in. This will take about five minutes using a handheld whisk on high.
3. Crack the eggs into a separate jug and beat them together, then add this to the butter and sugar mixture, about one egg at a time. After each addition, sieve in a spoonful of flour from the weighed amount to prevent the mixture from curdling. (If both the eggs and butter are at room temperature, there is less chance of it curdling. This only occurs when the ingredients are at different temperatures which makes it difficult for the fats and waters in the eggs and the butter to blend. Science bit over.)
4. Add the vanilla essence (or seeds if you are using) and sieve the remaining flour into the bowl, using a large metal spoon to fold this in. (A metal spoon prevents the air being knocked out and will help the cake rise.) Fold in all the flour until just combined.
5. Pour the batter evenly into the two tins, leveling the top with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the cake is golden, risen, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes, then once cool enough to handle remove from the tins and place on a wire rack.
6. Once completely cold, spread the top of one with a thick layer of jam. Beat the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla together (be careful if using a hand whisk because the sugar will go EVERYWHERE) until light and at a spreadable consistency (add a splash of milk if it is too stiff or more icing sugar if it is too slack). Turn over the other cake and spread the buttercream onto the bottom, then sandwich the two cakes together. To finish, dust with icing sugar or a sprinkling of caster sugar.