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Victoria Sponge cake

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Sponge cake is a cake based on flour (usually wheat flour), sugar, and eggs, sometimes leavened with baking powder or soaked in rum, that derives its structure from an egg foam into which the other ingredients are folded. In addition to being eaten on its own, it lends itself to incorporation in a vast variety of recipes in which pre-made sponge cake serves as the base.

The Victoria sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea. It is often referred to simply as sponge cake, though it contains additional fat. A traditional Victoria sponge consists of raspberry jam and whipped double cream or vanilla cream, just jam is referred to as a 'jam sponge' and most certainly not a Victoria sponge. The jam and cream are sandwiched between two sponge cakes; the top of the cake is not iced or decorated apart from a dusting of icing sugar.

A Victoria sponge is made using one of two methods. The traditional method involves creaming caster sugar with fat (usually butter), mixing thoroughly with beaten egg, then folding flour and raising agent into the mixture. The modern method, using an electric mixer or food processor, involves simply whisking all the ingredients together until creamy.

Additionally, the modern method typically uses an extra raising agent, and some recipes call for an extra-soft butter or margarine. Both the traditional and modern methods are relatively quick and simple, producing consistent results, making this type of mixture one of the most popular for children and people in a hurry. This basic 'cake' mixture has been made into an endless variety of treats and puddings, including fairy cakes, butterfly cakes, chocolate cake, Eve's pudding and many others.

Sponge cakes can also be made suitable for vegan, lacto-ovo intolerant and low cholesterol diets. Most often this is done by using plant based milk instead of dairy (such as rice or soya) and vegetable oil instead of eggs (although many alternatives to eggs are used such as flax seeds, bananas and powdered egg replacers).

Other names for the Victoria Sponge are Victoria Sandwich and, less commonly, Victorian Cake.

Although simple to make, Victoria sponge recipes are notoriously sensitive to cooking times and temperatures. As such, oven manufacturers often use a Victoria sponge recipe to test their ovens.

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References

Sponge cake, www.wikipedia.org

Sponge cakes, www.allrecipes.com

Sponge cake, www.bbc.co.uk