Clare Lawry's Victoria Sponge

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Clare Lawry's Victoria Sponge

Here's Clare Lawry's recipe for the perfect Victoria sponge! Clare won the Leiths Birthday Bake Off earlier this year, which was judged by John Whaite (GBBO winner 2012) and Hannah MacLennan (Leiths teacher).


For the sponge
3 eggs
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
180ml milk
45g butter
195g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the strawberry jam
200g strawberries (washed, hulled and cubed)
200g caster sugar

For the strawberry purée
200g strawberries (washed and hulled)

For the buttercreams
400g butter, softened
1200g icing sugar
30 - 50ml milk or cream
Gel food colouring in rose, leaf green and tangerine colours

300ml whipping cream
Sugar (to taste)


  1. For the sponge, beat the eggs in stand mixer with whisk attachment for 4 minutes. Add the sugar, and continue whisking for another 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir on low until just combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined.
  3. In a saucepan, or microwave, heat the milk and butter on a low heat until the butter is just melted. Add this to the batter and beat until just combined. Pour into a 20cm round cake tin that is greased and lined with a high, baking paper collar.
  4. Bake at 160 degrees (centigrade) until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (this should take about 30 to 35 minutes). Remove from oven and let the sponge stand in the tin for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling rack and let it cool completely.
  5. Cut into three even layers.
  6. For the strawberry jam, combine the fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently until sugar is dissolved.
  7. Increase the temperature and boil until the jam reaches “setting point” using a candy thermometer.
  8. Pour the hot jam into a shallow dish and place in the freezer until cool.
  9. For the purée, blend the strawberries and pass through a sieve. Put 3 tbsp aside to use in the strawberry buttercream and reserve the rest for soaking the sponge.
  10. For the buttercreams, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  11. Separate out the buttercream into 4 bowls (one for each of the 3 colours and one to be left uncoloured, ready to add the strawberry purée).
  12. Add 1 tsp of food colouring to each of the buttercreams, adding more depending on how vivid you would like the colour to be. Add 3 tbsp of strawberry purée to the fourth buttercream.
  13. Fill piping bags with each of the buttercreams and pipe the flowers with the coloured buttercreams, leaving the strawberry buttercream to the side ready for assembling the cake. Put the flowers on a baking tray and refrigerate them until solid.
  14. Whip 300ml of whipping cream to stiff peaks, adding sugar to taste if desired.
  15. To assemble to cake: 1) Lay the first layer of sponge cake on the cake board. 2) Pipe a border of strawberry buttercream around the sides of the sponge and cover the topside of the sponge with a thin layer of strawberry puree. 3) Add half of the jam and spread evenly. Add half the whipped cream on top of the jam and spread evenly up to the level of the buttercream border.
  16. Add the next layer of sponge and repeat steps 1-3. Add the final layer of sponge and cover the full cake in strawberry buttercream.
  17. Arrange the now solid flowers in a garland on top of the cake and allow it to reach room temperature before eating.

Recipe written by Clare Lawry, winner of the Leiths Birthday Bake Off 2016. 

Jen Coles

Author: Jen Coles

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