This is one of my favourite recipes. It can be adapted in so many ways and with so many tasty ingredient additions to be a quick and tasty snack or an elegant, flower adorned celebration cake... and everything in between. 

Heather Brown - food writer, stylist and home economist - victoria sponge


  • 8oz butter (or baking margarine)

  • 8oz caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 8oz self raising flour

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Smear some butter around the base and sides of 2 circular baking tins 8" in diameter. Then place a circle of greaseproof in the base of each tin. Preheat the oven to gas 6 or 180 degrees fan. 

In a stand mixer, with an electric whisk or with a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl really well. The mixture will change to be light and fluffy and the colour will turn pale. 

Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg. If the mixture curdles, you can add one spoonful of the flour and beat well. 

Slowly stir in the flour. Take care not to beat hard and knock out all of the air that has just been worked into the mix. 

Spoon the mixture into the 2 tins evenly and level the tops so they are mostly flat. Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes. Check the bakes after 22 minutes, you may need to swap them around in the oven so they cook evenly. The cakes will be done when the cakes have come away from the edges of the pan and the top of the cake is springy to the touch. 

Leave the cakes to cool. 

To ice the cakes, you can simply use some jam or you can make a simple buttercream icing by combining 4oz butter with 8oz of icing sugar. If the mixture becomes too stiff, soften with a little milk. If the mixture is to soft, you can just add some more icing sugar. 


  • This recipe makes a cake with 2 layers. 1 layer would be 4oz of butter, sugar and flour with 1 egg. So to add extra layers, simply add extra ingredients to make those extra layers. 3 layer cakes (12oz butter, sugar and flour and 6 eggs) are visually stunning, serve 20+ people and make excellent special occasion cakes. Just add some fresh flowers and you are good to go. 

  • You can tweak the flavour easily by adding extra ingredients. For example, replacing the vanilla extract with lemon zest and adding lemon juice in the icing makes a delicious and light lemon cake. Replacing the vanilla with almond extract and then using cherry jam in the centre makes a lovely bakewell inspired cake. 

  • The raising agent in the flour is activated when it comes in contact with moisture. To make the most of the rise it, try and get the cakes into the oven as soon as it is in the tin.

  • Also - be careful when checking to see if the cakes are done by opening and closing the oven door slowly (so the change in temp doesn't knock out air) and not knocking the tins when you move them. Try and refrain from checking them too soon. They need at least 2 thirds of the cooking time before you open the oven door.