I feel like some things are allowed during lockdown that wouldn’t have felt entirely acceptable before. Things like using up the last of the flour to bake a Victoria sponge and not sharing it with anyone outside of your tiny little household of two. I whipped this up last weekend and it meant that we had to have multiple servings of tea and cake a day in order to make sure we ate it while the sponge was still fresh. Such a hardship, I know.

As unfashionable as it may be, I wanted to share my ideal Victoria sandwich on here because it is such a comforting taste. There’s just nothing quite like it and it’s so quick and easy to make. Here’s my ultimate combination: buttery sponge, huge amounts of deliciously seedy raspberry jam, some fresh fruit, no whipped cream (contentious, I know) but a whipped orange blossom labneh icing spread on top. It deviates a little from the traditional recipe but using a yogurt base for the icing adds just a slight tang of acidity that I think you need with a cake like this. It’s so good!

Here’s what you need to make your simple raspberry jam Victoria sponge:

Ingredients for the labneh, required the day before:

  • 500g full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cheesecloth/muslin

Ingredients required on the day:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour, sieved
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • Strained labneh from the night before (originally 500g)
  • 40g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1/2 pot Bonne Maman raspberry jam (approx. 180g)
  • 10-15 fresh raspberries cut in half

Optional decorative ingredients: 

  • A handful of fresh blueberries & raspberries
  • Edible flowers (I used sweet alyssum)

Instructions for the day before:

  • To make the labneh, in a large bowl, mix the salt into the yogurt. Place the cheesecloth or muslin over a sieve sitting over a large bowl. Twist and place a plate or two on top to push out excess water. Leave the bowl in the fridge or a cool room for 24 hours.

Instructions on the day:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  • Cream together butter and sugar using an electric whisk or a Kitchen Aid. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and whisk well. Keep the whisks running and add the flour and baking powder mix one tablespoon at a time.
  • When smooth, divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and smooth the surface with a palette knife.
  • Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown.
  • Once baked, remove from tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
  • To make the labneh icing, remove labneh from refrigerator. Discard excess water in the bowl. Place labneh in your mixing bowl with sieved icing sugar and orange blossom water. Whisk until smooth.
  • When the cakes are completely cool, cover the top of one with a generous amount of raspberry jam. Add some raspberry halves around the edge of the cake. Place the second cake on top carefully.
  • Decorate the cake with a rustic smear of labneh icing, fresh blueberries and raspberries and some freshly picked sweet alyssum (or any other edible flowers).

There’s something so comforting in the most basic flavours like sponge and jam and I feel like there’s something particularly homely about a kitchen with a cake tin full of cake in it. I think my Granny would be proud of us having lots of baked goods stashed away in tins during lockdown. Or maybe that’s just what I keep telling myself to make me feel less guilty about the amount of butter we’re getting through every week.

What have you been baking? I’d love to know!

Look after yourselves xS