And welcome to your new favourite sponge cake recipe.
It was one of my best friend’s birthdays last week and to celebrate I traveled home and spent a lovely evening with my favourite girls. And, because it’s against the law to go out for a birthday tea without embarrassing the birthday girl with a sing song and a candle lit cake, another friend and I decided we had to make her a birthday treat.
The birthday girl is actually cutting refined sugar out of her diet at the moment – which didn’t phase me because, as you will know, I attempted that very same thing not so long ago and know how delicious sugar free recipes can be! Making the decision between birthday brownies, a Victoria sponge and cheesecake was a little more tricky however. But we finally decided upon a Victoria sponge – because it has more birthday vibes than the other options.
Instead of white flour (a secret smuggler for refined sugar) we used wholemeal spelt flour, and replaced caster sugar with maple syrup.
I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve been eating less refined sugar (apart from the belgian buns I snog every weekend) but you can’t even tell that this recipe has no refined sugar in it. Which makes it a winner for me! Oooooh, and the maple syrup gave it a really nice, deep and intense flavour. Mmmmhmm.
As much as I love a classic Victoria sponge with strawberry jam and buttercream, it can be quite a heavy way to finish a meal and I must say I do prefer it served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. So the fact this recipe using fresh fruit and cream to garnish also makes it a favourite in my eyes.
What you waiting for – get baking!
Sugar Free Victoria Sponge Cake
- 225g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 225g spelt flour
- 3 eggs, large
- 225ml maple syrup, plus 20ml for filling
- 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds from within
- 150ml double cream
- Sliced fruit to garnish, I used strawberries, raspberries and also two Nakd cocoa crunch bars
- Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan
- In a bowl, cream the butter until it is fluffy. For best results, make sure you use softened butter. If you’re still struggling, try creaming it in your mixer
- In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder and flour until properly combined.
- To the soft, fluffy butter, add an egg and a 3 or 4 tablespoons of the flour mixture and fold until combined
- Repeat this process, adding all the remaining flour mixture after the third egg. The mix might feel a little dry, but keep folding thoroughly
- To this, add the maple syrup and vanilla seeds – again folding until combined. This may take a couple of minutes to achieve
- Pour the mixture evenly into two greased 20cm cake tins and place in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and coming away at the edge
- Remove from the oven and allow them to properly cool down in their tins. Once cool/warm you can remove and place on a cooling rack whilst you prepare your filling
- Whisk the double cream until fluffy and stiff, and then stir in the maple syrup. You can add more syrup to taste.
- Dollop this sweet delicious filling on one of the sponges and top with your fruit before sandwiching together with the other half
- Decorate to your heart’s content and then scoff it down!
The cake can be quite fragile when handling, especially if not completely cooled so be careful when moving from tin to rack!
For those interested, there is around 400 calories per slice!
What to expect from the batter
This is a completely different cake batter to the classic sponge mix you will be used to, because of both the order of the steps and the different ingredients used. So, before you start baking and have a panic because it looks wrong, here is what you can expect:
- The eggs will be difficult to combine at first, but persevere because the flour assists the mixing
- You’ll think you have too much flour to liquid to begin with. You don’t. Don’t forget you have to add 225ml of maple syrup!
- It might feel like a bread dough before you add the maple syrup
- When you do finally add the maple syrup, the mixture might look curdled. If you continue to fold the mixture for a couple of minutes, it will start to resemble the texture of a regular sponge batter
- It will have a funny after taste – and don’t pretend you’re not going to try the cake mix, it’s the best bit! But yes, the maple syrup gives it quite a distinctive after taste – this mellows in the baking
Let me know how you get on!