Lemon & Passionfruit Curd meets Victoria Sponge

Is it terribly shocking to admit, that I have never baked a Victoria Sponge? Nope, never.

Years of eating rather tasteless birthday cake sponges put me off somewhat. The indifference was compounded by the fact that celebrity chefs went on about it and baking books were not complete unless a Vic Sponge was included. I have to be honest and say that I was a little intimidated too, to bake such a revered British classic. One can read pages on the technical aspects of making a perfectly light and moist cake and that of course, thwarts any initial, feeble spark of interest.

Until now.

It started with passionfruit, which were selling rather cheaply at the supermarket. I bought a fat bag of them and I knew I was going to be stirring a Lemon and Passionfruit Curd that afternoon. Couldn’t be easier, bung it all into a bowl over simmering water and let it emulsify and thicken. The curd, full of wonderful lemon-citrus tang, was complimented in equal part by the fruity hit of the passionfruit. The dark seeds peeking under a glossy sheen of curd made for pretty viewing too. It was sublime and the first taste had me reaching for a sliced bread to smother it on. When needs must people.

I was wondering how to make the most of the curd and turned to pals online; all exceptional bakers; on what to do with the curd. Obviously, the famous Victoria Sponge got quite a few mentions. I tentatively let it be known that I had never baked one. Cue lots of capital letters and question marks! Recipes were thrown in my direction and I was implored, scolded and urged in good hearted measure to give it a go.

So I turned to Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and tried her Victoria Sponge recipe. My natural laziness let me deviate to the path of least resistance and I opted for the food processor method, where everything is blitzed in the machine to make the batter. The cake suffered for it. Dense, it also erupted in the middle, like a volcano and so didn’t really meet any expectations. It was tasty to eat, but a Victoria Sponge it was not.

So the next day, I went for the traditional creaming, adding eggs and flour, slowly and alternately, poured the lemony, buttery batter into a waiting pan and smoothed it with prayers that it would turn out alright. And it did! Looking at the golden fat disc gave me such a sense of accomplishment and pleasure.

For the sandwich bit, I whipped up some double cream, folded in the curd and sandwiched the two halves of the cake. Next, I made a simple glaze of passionfruit juice and icing sugar and poured that on top.

Tasting the large chunk of cake, stabbed onto the end of my fork, I will say that I felt like slapping myself. To think that I had missed out on eating one of the loveliest cakes I have ever baked! The lemon infused, tender crumbed, moist but light sponge was perfectly partnered with with the smooth, tart and tangy curd and the passionfruit glaze added a subtle touch of fruitiness. The rest of the family concurred and the cake was demolished in  two days. And I had another ‘must-try-sometime’ item happily struck off the list.

To all the foodie pals out there, you know who you are;  I thank you.

Lemon Curd

From Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg (Makes 4 small jars)

4 large eggs
125g unsalted, cubed butter
225g caster sugar zest and juice of
3 unwaxed lemon
seeds and pulp of 2 passionfruits

Beat the eggs and strain into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Add all the other ingredients and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bowl as your eggs will scramble. Stir the bowl every now and then, for around 15-20 minutes. The final consistency should be like a very thick custard.

Remove the bowl from the pan (watch out for the steam) and stand the bowl in the sink of cold water to speed up the cooling process. Stir from time to time and let it cool completely. Pour them into sterilised jars, cover and store in the fridge for upto one week.

Note : To sterilise jars, clean them with hot soapy water, rinse well and place on a baking tray, lined with a tea towel or newspaper and put into an oven heated to 160 -180 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not put cold food into hot jars. Wait for it to cool down, like in the case of this lemon curd. Hot food can be added to hot jars.

Victoria Sponge

From How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

For the cake
225g unsalted soft butter
225g caster sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
25g cornflour

For the filling
100ml double cream
Lemon and passionfruit curd (really add as much as you like! )
Icing sugar to taste

For the glaze
Scooped out and sieved pulp of four passionfruits with a squeeze of lemon and/or orange juice
100g sieved icing sugar, possibly more

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C. Butter and line two 21 cm sandwich tins. Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy and practically white. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, adding in a spoonful of flour between each. Fold in the rest of the flour, the cornflour and then lemon juice.

Pour and scrape the lemony batter into your tins and bake for 25 minutes, until the cakes are just beginning to come away for the sides, are springy to the touch on the top and a cake tester or spaghetti string comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their tins on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn them out, leaving them to cool completely.

When ready to serve, whip the cream, fold in the curd and sugar, if using, and dollop and spread onto one cake. Gently place the other over the top. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze, adding more sieved icing sugar until you are happy with the consistency, though its best to have it a little runny. Pour over the cake and let it drip down the side.

Note : If you have Boyajian lemon oil use 1 tsp of it , instead of the zest. Also, add 3-4 tbsp of milk after the flour is folded in., omitting the lemon juice.


27 thoughts on “Lemon & Passionfruit Curd meets Victoria Sponge

  1. Natalie Morine

    Wonderful piece of writing again Carrie! I love a nice sponge with fresh cream & jam yours sounds delish with the fresh curd…I have a confession to make…I too have never made a sponge, must remedy that now esp after looking at yours!! 😀

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Phew! Another one! I thought I was the only misfit! Its pretty easy, though I think shallower sandwich pans are required rather than a high sided one which this is. Better lift I would think! And this combination was superb, really loved it as am not a fan of jam in cakes. I know, I know…

      Let me know how you get one….

  2. Thanh @ eat, little bird

    Oh my, stunning photos!!! I absolutely love them! So bright and full of lemony sunshine. And I absolutely love Victoria Sponge. Growing up, my mum had a soft spot for plain sponge cake which was inevitably passed on to me.

    Beautiful writing as well, Carrie. I loved reading every word! 🙂

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Aww thanks Thanh…I had a gorgeous tea towel that went perfectly 😉

      The only sponge I knew while growing up, was the birthday cake one and it was tasteless and dry so I guess I painted every plain sponge with the same pastry brush!

      Changed my mind now though 🙂

  3. jobakes

    Lovely lovely lovely. All of it! Could really do with a nice cake for tea today but my poor shoulders are murdering me and I’m forced to spend the day laying down! Ha! Shalle not a virtue slice of this instead for our piccies are good enough to eat Mrs PP. Hmmm, a slice of Creme’s date tart would be rather fab with my “virtual” afternoon tea – luckily I have Mrs Potts so I can *really* have the tea at least!

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Thankyou Anna! 🙂 Let you on a little secret…that plate is no bigger than a salad plate really. I just baked the cake in a wee tin 😉 …Zara homes, if you have one near you, is one of the best places I have found, for pretty tableware…and homeware…

  4. Big Sis Little Dish

    Oh how I would love to come across a fat bag of cheap passionfruit. I grew up in Hawaii and I alwasy start missing tropical fruit in the middle of winter. I made lemon curd for the first time today!

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Somehow the idea of growing up in Hawaii sounds rather magical! Passionfruit is rather new to me (via Nigella’s Pavlova topping) though my mother used to eat it all the time when she was little. How did the lemon curd go?

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  6. Christine

    I just stumbled upon your website, and I must say this looks sooo good! I am definitely going to try. 🙂 However, if I can’t get passionfruit am I able to use some substitute like a passionfruit syrup/flavoring/essence thing? Not sure if that will be quite the same though 😦

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Oh Christine, I apologise, I didn’t see your comment till now!! I personally have not come across passionfruit flavoured syrups, so I don’t know about those. If I had to buy something it would be the syrup, and not the flavourings or essences as those are likely to be chemically produced to mimic the taste of passionfruit and its a poor replica.

      You could just do the whole thing in lemon, which is also quite traditional. Fruit like raspberries or blackberries would work. Or just plain whipped cream in the centre, with strawberries are divine.

      Hope this helps. 😉

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  8. Luchair

    This is a stunning Victoria, impressively high it is! Love the idea of serving it with passionfruit curd. Dont know how i missed this – lovely post.

  9. Jayne

    Oh my, the lemon and passionfruit curd is devine (she says licking not only the spoon but wiping my finger around the bowl to scrape up every last drop). The smell was delightful, so much so that it got my daughter out of her room to ask what I was doing – whooppee!!!!! I shall now make a Victoria sponge cake and sandwich it with pure delight, thank you for sharing 🙂 x

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Oh Jayne, thanks for the feedback and am so glad you love it! Major credit for the recipe if it called to your daughter as well, ha ha! There are no better critics than children…enjoy that sponge 🙂

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  13. roroshell

    Your post made me laugh. I have been making Victoria sponges for a while but I think my preferences have changed to Maderia cakes which have less sugar in them. It makes me feel like it is the “healthier option!”

    Considering this was your second attempt at Victoria sponge, they are look wonderful and what a flavour combination!

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