Victoria Sponge Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

A light-as-a-feather vanilla-orange cake, layered with whipped cream and a tangy homemade jam. This simple dessert is a perfect teatime accompaniment.

The classic Victoria Sponge cake is a dessert for any season, however, after my last trip to London I tend to associate this layer cake with spring.

Ah, those were the days. Danny and I tripped around from Greenwich to Pimlico, pausing for tea and cake anytime it was necessary – and a few times when it was not.

So it made perfect sense to bake a Victoria Sponge cake with strawberry rhubarb jam to celebrate our anniversary last weekend.

A Classic Sponge Cake

A sponge cake was the very first cake I learned to bake as a child. It was usually for the base of our holiday Wimbush trifle. I’ve kept this recipe around over the years, making improvements here and there.

The sponge always began with a cup of sugar and the zest of an orange. I’ve kept up this delicate citrus flavouring, and for today’s Victoria Sponge Cake, I pair it with freshly ground cardamom and a splash of vanilla.

PS: That orange-cardamom flavour duo has been a favourite around here for a while. Try this orange cardamom curd the next time you’re looking for a special tartlette or mini pavlova filling.

Filling a Victoria Sponge Cake

Strawberry jam is traditional for filling this layer cake, but I think this recipe lends itself very well to variations. My very first rhubarb harvest of the season inspired this combination of orange sponge cake with a fresh strawberry rhubarb jam.

My strawberry rhubarb jam is honey sweetened and very easy to make. Over the winter I usually have a few jars on hand, however for this cake, I made a fresh batch.The kitchen smelled incredible!

If you don’t want to fuss with a homemade pot of jam, swap out a simple rhubarb compote for the strawberry rhubarb jam filling. Rhubarb and orange is such a classic combination.

If you only have strawberries, turn them into my Honey Strawberry Jam. Stash a few jars in the pantry and use the rest for this dessert.

Don’t be shy to use store-bought jam, either. If you do, try using a little less (more like 1/2 cup) and add a few more sliced strawberries. Another variation is to use roasted strawberries. and their juices.

Decorating a Victoria Sponge Cake

The beauty of this cake is its absolute simplicity. Two even layers of sponge cake, a tangy jam, soft whipped cream, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Perfection.

Well, I walked my yard while the cakes were cooling, and I couldn’t resist gathering a handful off the first violets and pansies for the top. London was in bloom when we visited and the streets of Kensington smelled like roses, so I wanted to bring blossoms to my cake.

I say, use what you have. If you have a few spray-free edible flowers such as roses, pansies, violas, forcythia, forget-me-not or lilac for the top, then go ahead.

It’s also perfectly acceptable – and more traditional – to leave the top of your Victoria Sponge Cake plain. You do you!

The Do-Ahead Victoria Sponge Cake

This is a cake that is best made and enjoyed as soon as possible. If necessary it can be assembled and tucked away in the fridge for a few hours. It is best served at room temperature, however, so give it an hour or so on the counter before slicing.

The cake layers may be also prepared in advance and frozen, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months. Thaw the layers at room temperature before assembling your Victoria Sponge cake with jam and cream.

Victoria Sponge Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

A light-as-a-feather orange cardamom cake, layered with whipped cream and a fresh strawberry-rhubarb jam.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: Strawberries
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
  • 1 cup strawberry rhubarb jam homemade
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • edible flowers or berries to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil two x 8-inch round cake pans and line the bases with a circle of parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, orange zest, butter and vanilla. Mix on medium high until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. You will need to stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch and cardamom. If you think there may be lumps, sift these ingredients once into another bowl.
  • With the mixer on low, beat 1 egg into the creamed butter, followed by a tablespoon of the flour mixture. Continue with another egg and another tablespoon of flour until all the eggs are incorporated.
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle. Using a large spatula, fold the rest of the dry ingredients into the cake batter. Finish with about 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice. The batter should be smooth and thin enough to drop off the spatula when lifted.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. I used a scale to get the cake layers the same, making sure each pan has exactly the same amount. Smooth the tops of the batter.
  • Place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 23-26 minutes (ovens will vary). The cakes will be a deep golden colour and a cake tester should come out clean. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes on wire racks, then run a knife around the sides, invert onto a rack and cool completely.
  • Whip the cream into stiff peaks. If desired, sweeten with a spoonful of powdered sugar. Place one cake round onto a serving plate and top with the jam, spreading it right to the edges. Top with slices strawberries, fanning them to cover the jam.
  • Heap the whipped cream onto the fresh strawberry cake layer, spreading to the edges of the cake. Dust the second cake generously with powdered sugar then place it on top of the whipped cream. Press down on the sides of the cake to adhere. Garnish with edible flowers or additional strawberries. Serve at once. Best enjoyed on the day it is made and best served at room temperature.

Notes

Swap out a rhubarb compote for the strawberry rhubarb jam filling. You could also use roasted strawberries
If your cardamom is pre-ground, you may want to use double the amount.
I’ve suggested 1 cup of jam, but be as generous or sparse as you like. if the jam is not overly sweet, I like to be more generous.
Cake layers may be prepared in advance and frozen, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months. Thaw before using.

This cake recipe is partially adapted from Nigella’s Victoria Sponge with Marmalade and Crème Fraîche from her fantastic cookbook At My Table. Also another incredible combination, perhaps better suited to a holiday tea party.

More Delicious Cake Recipes

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. How do you keep the whipped cream from mushing out around the sides of the cake? Once I add the top layer of cake, mine never keeps its shape, no matter what I do….

  2. This looks absolutely heavenly! My hubby’s birthday is coming up soon and this would exactly the kind of cake he’d love. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. My husband loves Victoria sponge (in fact, I have yet to meet a British person who does not!). This looks so delicious, and I love Rhubard. Gonna have to try this in the summer!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, it looks so beautiful and yummy. I’m a big fan of sponge cake. Thanks for this idea, I will make it this weekend.

  5. 5 stars
    I’m free these days. I made this cake this morning. I didn’t decorate it as beautiful as you did, however, it tasted very well. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. This will be perfect for my mom’s birthday! If we don’t have cardamom, is there another spice we can use to make it special?

  7. lovely cake! and much prefer rhubarb to the traditional strawberry so thank you for that and for the recipe!

  8. 4 stars
    In terms of looks, it can be beautiful or a mess. Mine turned out less spongy and more stiff, and too sweet. I highly recommend the edible flowers, I got mine from whole foods for $5.

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