This is my British mother-in- law's recipe. I never met her and she has been gone for quite a while so how do I know that.
For two reasons. I have two of her 'cookery' books from the '40's and the page with her sponge cake recipe is very messy and streaked. A telltale sign that a recipe on that page is a family favourite.
Also Hubby can remember sponge cake being just about the only cake she made and he loved it.
Traditionally the British or Victorian Sponge Cake would be baked in two round pans, sandwiched with jam in the middle and dusted with icing sugar over the top. Yesterday I felt like making it in a tube pan. Since Hubby loves frosting I made my usual Butter Frosting for the top.
Recipes abound for this particular cake and most share a sameness of ingredients...flour, sugar, butter and eggs. you will definitely need eggs which might be the only thing you wouldn't readily have on hand. I've seen recipes calling for vanilla extract, even lemon extract, but this one is free of any flavourings other than the rinds and lemon juice.
British Sponge Cake
6 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup real butter softened
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbsp grated orange rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour (I've used regular flour and it works fine)
Beat egg yolks till thick and creamy.
Gradually beat in sugar, butter and the rinds. Beat well.
Beat in lemon juice.
Add salt to egg whites. Whip until stiff but not dry.
Pile on top of egg yolk mixture.
Sift flour over all.
Carefully fold into mixture.
Rinse one 10 inch tube pan or two 9 inch round pans well in cold water. Drain.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes.
I took mine out after 35 minutes mainly because I tend to err on the side of overbaking and I'm trying to break myself of that habit. You can try the toothpick test. The oven should be slow so I guess it depends on how your particular oven is for the temperature. I've seen 300 or 320 degrees in recipes as well.
This cake is named after Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth is very fond of it too. Apparently it was served to her quite a lot during her Jubilee Celebrations. I'm sure with fresh jam, strawberries or raspberries and cream it would have been yummy every time.
Image from Cakespy.