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Victoria Sponge Cake History

The Victoria sponge cake was one of the queen’s favorites. After her husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the Queen Victoria spend time in retreat at the Queen’s residence - Osborne House

The Victoria sponge cake is one of those cakes with a very rich history to it. Let’s learn more.


Victoria sponge cake

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you’ll recall our post about the history of afternoon, or high, tea (the terms are interchangeable today) and that it was invented by a close friend of Queen Victoria’s, Anne, Duchess of Bedfordshire.

History in the making

The Duchess, liked a cup of tea and slice of something sweet in the afternoon, to help carry her through the fashionably long period between lunch and dinner. Friends, including Queen Victoria, sometimes joined her. A tell-all biography of the Queen, written by “a member of the royal house” whispers in our ear that Her Majesty loved to indulge in “chocolate sponges, plain sponges, wafers of two or three different shapes, langues de chat, biscuits and drop cakes of all kinds, tablets, petit fours, princess and rice cakes, pralines, almond sweets, and a large variety of mixed sweets”. However, food historian Alysa Levene’s history of cake (2016) confirms that her particular favourite was the elegantly simple sponge that we have come to associate with her and now bears her name; the Victoria sponge.

And it’s perhaps fitting that this cake was named in her honour because, in a way, it is symbolic of her reign. The Victorian era, the era we know as the Industrial Revolution was an era of invention and ingenuity. The delicate sponge must have been truly a luxury fit for a Queen because it’s light, fluffy texture was achieved through a newly-developed ingredient; baking powder.

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