It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend and what perfect way to celebrate than with a classic British cake, the Victoria Sponge! This gluten-free version is incredibly easy to make with just a few pantry staples and is guaranteed to impress. Two light and fluffy layers of vanilla sponge are filled and topped with a silky buttercream, strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. Take a look at my coeliac-friendly recipe below for a gluten-free Victoria Sponge that tastes just like the real deal.
This recipe is my go-to sponge cake recipe. It is simple to bake and can even be made using the all-in-one method, which means you can pop all of the ingredients into one bowl, mix it up and pour it into the baking tin. I’ve been making this cake for years and it never fails. If you follow the recipe instructions carefully, the end result will be a beautifully fluffy sponge with the most perfect crumb!
The Victoria Sponge is named, of course, after Queen Victoria who reigned over Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until 1901. Historians believe that she was a particular fan of what is now known as Afternoon Tea, and that one of her most favoured cakes was the vanilla sponge cake. Modern rising agents had recently been invented and the vanilla sponge was one of the first cakes to use baking powder in the cake mixture making it somewhat more desired than others.
What equipment do I need for this cake?
- 8 ” round baking tin (20cm) (9 ” would also work but the cake would be slightly flatter)
- Stand-mixer or hand-held electric whisk
- Baking paper to line the baking tin
What ingredients do I need?
Caster Sugar – Sugar adds structure and sweetness to this cake. I like to use a standard white caster sugar but a light brown sugar may work well too
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cake and to help it to rise in the baking process, room temperature is essential for all eggs in this recipe which helps to incorporate them into the mixture better
Margarine and butter – Margarine works wonders in cakes, hence why I’d recommend sticking to a margarine spread like Stork rather than a butter. Unsalted butter can be used at room temperature but you won’t get a super light and fluffy cake like you would with margarine. Unsalted butter at room temperature is best for the buttercream so that it can be whipped up more easily. You’ll have a hard time if the butter is still hard.
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For this cake I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm Free S.R. Flour which is my go-to flour for baking!
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten-free recipes and there are no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
Vanilla extract – A few drops of vanilla extract pairs perfectly with chocolate flavours
Icing sugar – Icing sugar is the main ingredient of the buttercream, adding sweetness and structure
Strawberry jam – Strawberry jam adds the fruity notes to this cake. Add a generous layer for the filling!
Fresh strawberries – Fill your cake with chopped strawberries and pile them up on top to make your Victoria Sponge extra fruity
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements will have the same outcome.
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Strawberry & Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes
- Mini Strawberry Pies
- Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread
- Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies
Classic Victoria Sponge Cake
- 2 x 8" (20cm) round baking tins Either can be used, however the 8-inch cakes will be slightly shorter in height
For the cake
- 350 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 350 g caster sugar
- 350 g margarine room temperature
- 6 medium free-range eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
For the filling
- 125 g butter softened
- 280 g icing sugar plus extra for dusting
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk
- 5-6 tbsp strawberry jam
- 3 strawberries sliced
- strawberries to decorate
For the sponge cake
- Preheat the oven to 160° C Fan and line the bottom of two 8-inch round baking tins with parchment paper, making sure to then grease them thoroughly with a greasing brush afterwards.
- Cream the margarine and butter together in a mixer until light and fluffy in texture.350 g margarine, 350 g caster sugar
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely combined.6 medium free-range eggs
- Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pour in the flour, Xanthan Gum, salt and baking powder and mix until combined and no pockets of flour remain.350 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and level the tops with a levelling spatula.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 30-35 minutes or until the middle of each cake is spongy to the touch and an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
- Once baked, allow the cakes to cool completely to room temperature before preparing the filling.
For the filling
- Cream the butter in a mixer until paler in colour and fluffier in texture.125 g butter
- Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk, and whisk again until thoroughly combined. This may take a few minutes.280 g icing sugar, 1 tbsp milk, ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Spread a generous layer of strawberry jam on the bottom layer sponge, before adding a layer of buttercream on top by either piping it on using a piping bag and nozzle, or simply spreading it on top with a spatula.5-6 tbsp strawberry jam
- Place the sliced strawberries on top of the buttercream, before placing the second sponge layer on top.3 strawberries
- Any leftover buttercream can be spread on top of the cake along with some extra fresh strawberries to decorate.strawberries
- Dust with a light layer of icing sugar to finish.280 g icing sugar