Warning: not in the least vegan…but reasonably low in gluten.

Richard’s Victoria Sponge

This is a variation on the official Women’s Institute cake. It also breaks most of the rules for making a sponge cake but seems to work fine for me. There’s a picture of the cake above.


4 eggs
flour (see details for amount)
ground almonds
ground coconut (optional)
3 heaped teaspoons of baking powder (or 1 1/2 if you use self-raising flour)
almond essence (optional)
orange or lemon essence (optional)
good raspberry jam (OR good lemon curd)

How to make

Pre-heat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 – or in my case set the Rayburn to 3 and a bit).

Take two small cake tins* (preferably spring form) and line the bottom with baking paper. Grease the bottom and sides with butter.

Weigh 3 eggs – let’s assume they weigh 180g.

Into a mixing bowl add:
90g plain flour** (you can use self-raising but if you do reduce the amount of baking powder)
90g ground almond
OR you can add ground coconut, in which case make each of these 60g)
180g caster sugar
3 generous teaspoons baking powder

Loosely mix these together then make a ‘pit’ in the middle

Separately add into a small bowl:
180g soft butter
4 eggs 
a splooge of almond essence (optional)
a splooge of orange OR lemon essence (optional)
orange and/or lemon zest (optional)

Pour these into the pit you made in your other flour mix.

Mix. I use an electric mixer but you can use a fork or a wooden spoon. The result should be a reasonably smooth batter – don’t over-mix, so just as much as you need to form the batter.

Pour equal amounts into the two cake tins.

Hereafter depends really on your oven. In mine, which tends to be hotter on one side, I VERY GENTLY turn the pans 180° after 20 minutes then continue backing for 15-20 minutes. But your oven may not require turning because it has a lovely even heat.

How can you tell when it’s cooked? Use the traditional method of inserting a fork or other small object into the middle of the cake (gently). If it comes out clean, it’s cooked. But the easier way is to look at the colour which should be a golden brown and at the edges of the cake which should be pulling away from the pan.

Leave to cool, remove from the pan and put the jam or curd on one cake then sandwich them together.

Eat when cool but not completely room temperature.



*you can use a single, larger cake tin if you’re clever enough to slice the cake in half after it’s cooked. I’m not.
** you can omit flour altogether and replace with ground almonds instead.