Orange & Almond Victorian Sponge

When looking at the recipe for this cake, it looked decidedly like it should have been photographed in sepia. This is certainly a little more of an old-fashioned cake, in comparison to the ‘fad’ cakes of today, such as the croquembouche and macaron towers of terror. I find there’s little appreciation for good, old-fashioned classics nowadays, and it is a bit of a shame.

My first ever attempt at a sponge cake last year turned out ridiculously flat as I hadn’t beaten the eggs enough. I’m too embarrassed to even show you a picture! Flat and sad looking, I stuffed it full of jam and cream but the texture of it was heavy and dense, certainly nothing that a sponge cake was supposed to be!

Despite verbal recommendations that I whip the egg whites separately, I haven’t been able to find a single sponge recipe within my collections that involves the separate whipping of the egg whites. But looking at this recipe, it looked tasty and there didn’t seem to be much emphasis on the height, so I guess I’ll wait until I find a proper sponge recipe with separate egg white beating before producing something CWA-worthy (I wish!).

This is from my book the Women’s Weekly Afternoon Tea Collection, and I’ve made a couple of adaptions. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos during the process of mixing the cake, only remembering when the cake was cooling. So please do excuse my absent-mindedness.

To serve 12, you will need:

  • 185g unsalted butter, softened;
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste;
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind;
  • 3/4C (165g) caster sugar;
  • 3 eggs;
  • 1/4C (60ml) milk;
  • 1 + 1/2C (225g) self-raising flour;
  • 3/4C (240g) orange marmalade, warmed;
  • 300ml thickened cream;
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar;
  • 1/2C (40g) flaked almonds, toasted;
  • Candied orange segments to decorate (optional). If making yourself, you will need 1C additional caster sugar.

First of all, if all you can find is raw flaked almonds, toast them in a dry frying pan until lightly brown. You can make candied oranges by boiling together 1C caster sugar with 1/2C water and dropping in a couple of thin slices of orange. Boil until semi-translucent, then remove and cool completely (dry it if you can) on a piece of baking paper.

As for the cake…

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line two medium cake tins (equal diameter) with baking paper.

Beat the butter, extract, rind and caster sugar in a medium bowl with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the milk and sifted flour, in two batches. Divide the mixture into the two pans.

Bake the sponges for approximately 15 minutes until golden on top. Turn the sponge immediately onto a baking paper-covered wire rack, and turn top-side up to cool.

Spread one cake with the warmed marmalade..

Then flip the other cake over on top of it so the flat bottom of the second cake is now facing up.

Beat the cream and one tablespoon of the icing sugar in a small bowl with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Spread this around the sides of the cake. Don’t be too pedantic when just spooning it on – feel free to spoon it on roughly at first, just to get cream onto the sides, then you can go back and smooth the edges afterwards.

Stick the toasted almonds all over the cream. I found the easiest way to do this was to hold a large spoon full of the flaked almonds, then carefully let them ‘waterfall’ with the help of my fingers over the cream. You can then go back later and stick almonds into any spots you may have missed.

With a knife, gently score the top of the cake into 12 segments. Then spoon the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted tube before piping rosettes onto the top of the cake.

As you can see, my counting was an epic fail. My rosettes turned out a little larger than expected, so all I could fit in was 11. Oh well.

Sift the remaining tablespoon of icing sugar over the top of the cake and top the cream rosettes with segments of the candied orange slices.


Don’t mind if I do have a slice 😉 xx

7 Comments Add yours

  1. This look absolutely perfect!

    1. Cath says:

      Why thank you! 🙂

  2. OMG! This looks tempting!!! Happy thanksgiving !

    1. Cath says:

      Half is demolished already! Happy Thanksgiving to you too 🙂

  3. Jina @ Soy and Ginger says:

    Love it! Those rosettes are beautiful. You make the most gorgeous desserts Cath 🙂

  4. Cintia says:

    gosh! i got the same recipe book and was looking up on google for tips and other recipes and i saw this, thanks for posting it up, it looks perfect!

    1. Thanks! That recipe book is divine, isn’t it? 😉

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