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Victoria Sponge Cake


Also known as a Victoria Sandwich (because the two layers are sandwiched together), this very British cake is very easy to make-and an essential component of a proper afternoon tea. Filled with lemon curd (or raspberry jam), it's one of the many reasons I always like to have a big jar of homemade lemon curd on hand. And a freshly made Victoria cake is just the excuse I need to bring out my favorite cut-glass cake stand, my daintiest china cups and saucers, antique sugar bowl and creamer, and little silver spoons. I enjoy this ritual whether I'm sharing a pot of tea with friends or just tea for two. I sometimes spread a layer of freshly whipped cream over the curd filling (to really gild the lily!). And, if I don't feel like glazing the cake, I simply dust the top with confectioners' sugar and decorate it with crystallized edible flowers such as violets, pansies, or rose petals. Very pretty. This delicate cake is best served the day it's made. I like it with a cup of Lemon Verbena Tea (page 306) or a fragrant light tea such as green or Darjeeling.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup lemon-scented sugar (page 316), or plain sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
Luscious Lemon Curd (page 256)
Confectioners' Sugar Glaze for icing (page 277)
Fresh raspberries for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.

Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Divide and spread the batter evenly between the prepared pans (it may not seem like enough batter, but it is). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until pale golden and firm to the touch; do not overbake or the cake will be dry. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans, remove the parchment paper, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, generously spread the top of one of the cakes with lemon curd, but not so thickly that it will ooze out the sides. Top with the remaining cake. Pour the glaze over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle the glaze with raspberries, gently pressing them into the icing, then let the cake stand until the glaze sets.

Makes 8 servings

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