The Real Difference Between Victoria Sponge Cake And Madeira Sponge Cake

Sponge cake is a classic for good reason; it has been around in various forms since 1615 (via Heavy). It should hardly come as a surprise, then, that there are plenty of different versions from which to choose. Two similar, yet definitely distinct, options are the classic Victoria sponge and the Madeira sponge. Both the Victoria and the Madeira start with equally weighted measurements of egg, butter, and sugar. That, however, is where these two sponge cakes diverge (via Type 1 Kitchen).

The Victoria sponge, or Victoria sandwich, is a true classic, named for Queen Victoria, who ruled Great Britain from 1837-1901. Her Majesty was reportedly a fan of this recipe, which first appeared in Mrs Beeton's 1861 Book of Household Management (via The Conversation). The true defining feature of this sponge, and what sets it apart from the Madeira sponge, is the amount of flour used in the recipe.

For a Victoria sponge, the flour should be equal in weight to the eggs, sugar, and butter (or margarine) used, whereas the Madeira sponge calls for a greater volume of flour, resulting in a slightly denser final version, which more closely resembles a pound cake. This difference makes sense, considering the ways in which the two cakes are typically served.

More differences between a Victoria sponge and a Madeira sponge

The most common misconception about the Madeira sponge cake is that it originated on the Portuguese island of Madeira. In reality, it's English, according to the BBC. The name comes from the tradition of serving the slightly firmer, more crumbly cake with a glass of Madeira (via The Kitchn). It also acts as a perfect base for many different flavors or toppings, from fruit to chocolate, or even in a trifle, whereas the Victoria sponge is most often served in a single, classic way across the United Kingdom.

The lighter, fluffier Victoria sandwich is usually made up of two sponge cakes, with a layer of jam and fresh whipped or vanilla cream between them, topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, although it can also be a perfect foundation for your favorite buttercream frosting. When it comes to popularity, Victoria definitely takes the cake, remaining one of Britain's favorite baked treats to this day. In fact, The National Trust sold over 171 thousand slices in its tea shops in 2012 alone, reports Heavy.