Raspberry Victoria Sponge Cake
Adding crushed fresh raspberries and almond extract to a classic Victoria Sponge cake batter gives this cake a subtle and summery twist. I have wanted to make this Raspberry Victoria Sponge Cake for a little while and I finally got the chance when I went back to Oxford to visit my Mum and Dad last weekend.
My Dad, an avid gardener and grower of his own fruit and vegetables, cultivates a raspberry patch every summer which grows so large it threatens to burst out of the fencing that contains it. Half of the mission in making this cake was getting in and out of the raspberry patch without being swallowed up by the bushes.
The other half of the mission was remembering to put butter into the actual cake batter. Being the somewhat forgetful person I am, after I had put the butter in the microwave to soften I forgot to take it out of the microwave and put it into the cake batter. After about 20 minutes of wondering why my cake batter was so runny and why my cake wasn't rising or looking quite as I was hoping, the penny dropped.
Below you can see my unintentional fat-less sponge, which actually didn’t turn out too badly! My Granny, Granddad and Sister all went in for a slice while waiting for my second batch to cook. It was a little on the chewy side but if I had whisked up the egg whites first and added everything else, I think it could have come out really nicely.
Now, on to my second attempt! As both my Dad and Sister suffer from coeliac disease, I made this cake gluten-free so even with the butter it still didn’t rise in quite the same way as a normal cake would. Nevertheless, the cake came out of the oven smelling buttery and delicious! For the colour of this cake I was aiming for a light raspberry pink sponge. I think when I make it again I either need to put more food colouring in or get better quality colouring to achieve the colour I was initially hoping for.
I also decided to make a fresh raspberry filling as I felt raspberry jam would make the whole cake a little too sweet. This raspberry filling is deliciously tangy; if you like sour sweets that make your face screw up, you’ll want to eat this stuff up with a spoon on its own.
Specialist Utensils: 2 x 20cm/8in round cake tins, electric hand or stand mixer.
Top Tip: The raspberry filling used in this recipe is very versatile, can be used in a variety of recipes and can be made ahead of time, bottled up and placed in the fridge or freezer. The filling should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Raspberry Victoria Sponge
225g unsalted butter plus a little extra for greasing, softened/at room temperature
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour (normal or gluten-free/wheat-free flour also works well)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1-3 teaspoons pink or red food colouring (dependent on the strength and how pink you want your cake to come out)
150g fresh raspberries, crushed
250g fresh raspberries (frozen raspberries would also work)
100g caster sugar
Juice of 1 small or ½ large lemon
1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with about 2 tablespoons water to make a smooth paste (make up a little more of this paste if you want to make your raspberry filling thicker)
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease the sides of 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins, then line the bottom of the tins with circles of baking paper.
2. Add the eggs, softened butter, sugar, flour and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and mix with your electric mixer until well combined, but don’t over-mix. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, food colouring and crushed raspberries and give your mixture a final quick mix until well combined. If you want your cake to be a more vibrant pink, add a little more food colouring.
3. Divide the mixture evenly between your two tins and smooth the surface of the cakes with a spatula before placing the tins on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes but check after 20 minutes to make sure the cakes aren’t browning too quickly (cover with foil if this is the case). Remove the cakes from the oven when they are golden brown and springy to the touch.
4. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins until cool enough to handle, then turn the cakes out of their tins onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
5. To make your raspberry filling, place your raspberries into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the berries have broken down and are lightly boiling (about 5 minutes for fresh, about 10 minutes for frozen).
6. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice and leave to lightly boil for a further 5 minutes. In a separate small bowl or cup, whisk together your cornflour with water to form a paste. Add your cornflour paste to the boiling raspberry mixture and stir vigorously for a minute. If the mixture still looks a little runny for your liking, make up a little more cornflour paste and add to the raspberry mixture (be careful not to add too much as the mixture thickens more as it cools).
7. Remove your raspberry filling from heat and leave to cool and thicken, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, you can bottle up and store in the fridge or freezer, or use right away (see top tip above the ingredient list for more information about storage).
8. Once your cakes and raspberry filling are completely cooled, whip your double cream using your electric mixer until stiff peaks form and cream is able to hold its shape.
9. To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down on your serving plate and spread it with plenty of the raspberry filling, then spread the whipped cream on top of the raspberry filling and place the second cake on top. If you’re finding it tricky to spread the cream this way, try placing the other cake upside down on a different plate, spreading the cream onto it and then carefully turning the cake the right way up and sandwiching the two cakes together.
10. Use a sieve to sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar, then dig in!