Black forest Victoria sponge cake

When my birthday rolled around this week, I had already made two cakes in the past week. But I didn't let that stop me: I love making cake!

I rediscovered my copy of Annie Bell's Gorgeous Cakes, which I don't think I've actually ever baked from before. That might be because it suffers from lazy editing. As far as I can tell, it was originally British, and while the measurements and units were converted to American norms, but the equipment was not. Americans generally bake cakes in multiple round pans, not in very tall layers (that are later split). I don't have a cake pan tall enough (3 or 4 inches). Americans rarely use self-rising flour and don't even know what superfine sugar is. Americans also don't title their desserts "Chocolate Sensation." But it's all very charming, and it is easy enough to adapt for my purposes.

I am looking forward to baking more from this book in the future. It is full of fabulous ideas, and I love making do, so the adaptations will be fun.

Here's what I made for my birthday.


Black forest Victoria sponge cake
adapted from Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 can cherry pie filling (or 1 cup cherry jam)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8" round pans (I used cooking spray and waxed paper circles). 

Cream butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl between each addition. Beat for 4 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add in three batches, alternating with milk. Mix completely, scraping down bowl as needed.

Divide batter between two pans, smoothing tops of batter and knocking on the counter a few times. Bake about 23–28* minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool about 20 minutes, then remove from pans. Let cool completely on racks.

Whip the cream with the powdered sugar. If your layers are domed, slice of the top of one to make it flat. Put the flat layer on the bottom and fill with half the cherries. Stack the other layer on top, and add remaining cherries and all the whipped cream.

*En dash alert!


  1. I love the flavor of cherry and chocolate. Thanks for sharing this recipe and have a Happy Birthday.

  2. This looks so yummy and its chocolate my favorite food group. At least it should be a food group my daughter says choc would solve all the world's problems and I agree.

    You did a great job..Happy Birthday!