Victoria Sponge with Chia Jam and Coconut Cream

I made a disastrous version of this gorgeous cake on the telly here.Queen Vic would have turned in her grave. I was having too much craic in the kitchen with Lucy Kennedy.

 

Chiamania

When you need to recharge your superhuman powers, or your Bridge skills, try chia.

These weensy seeds are members of the omega-3 plant squad. Why such excitement? Omega-3 is a good fat, the kind that nourishes your noggin and not your waistband.

Our brain cells are primarily composed of fat. So too are many of our neurons (think of an internal electricity grid that lights up our thoughts). There is strong scientific evidence linking good brain health with omega-3-rich diets.

Most research involves controlled studies using omega-3 supplements. But what’s the point in necking expensive pharma-bullets when you can be merrily tucking into chia jam every  morning?

 

victoria sponge with chia jam and coconut yoghurt

 

Find black or white varieties in your local health food store and savvy grocers. Chia may initially seem expensive, but these tiny seeds actually swell to eight times their volume as soon as liquid touches their orbit.

Apart from being a tasty insurance policy against brain-drain, chia seeds deliver a surprisingly generous dose of calcium and iron too. Great food for mama and bump.

 

Victoria Sponge with chia jam and coconut cream

Not the traditional butter, cream, sugar and bleached-flour variety, this Victoria Sponge will make your taste buds fist-bump and your health insurer applaud.

Make it for a group of Brits, and you’ll have friends for life.

 

Vic SPonge with chia jam

 

For the sponge:

1/2 cup / 65g coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup / 25g ground almonds

Good pinch of sea salt

4 medium (not large) eggs

2 tablespoons natural or soya yoghurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

just under 1/2 cup / 120ml unscented coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup / 125ml light agave, brown rice syrup or honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

For the chia jam filling:

2/3 cup / 125g frozen raspberries, defrosted

1-2 tablespoons chia seeds

Squeeze of lime (optional)

3 dates, pre-soaked and stones removed (optional jamminess)

4 tablespoons / 75g CoYo coconut milk yoghurt or thick Greek yoghurt

 

 

To make the chia jam, let the raspberries thaw first. Then whiz them in a food processor or hand-held blender with the chia seeds, lime and licky-sticky dates. Allow the chia seeds to thicken the jam for 40 minutes before using.

For the sponge, you’ll need to oil an 8×8 (20cm x 20cm) brownie pan, or a 10-inch (25cm) circular tin, and set aside. It’s also important to preheat your oven to 170 degrees, 150 for fan-assisted or 325 Fahrenheit. I find the best oil to use for greasing is unscented (as opposed to extra virgin and raw) coconut oil. Unscented coconut oil won’t turn the edges of the sponge infuriatingly dark. The meat of the coconut is lightly steamed before pressed, in order to remove the strong coconuty aroma.

Take out two large bowls. In the first bowl, sift your flour with the baking powder together. Stir through the ground almonds and some salt.

In the next bowl, whisk the eggs and yoghurt together, adding a splash of vanilla extract. Then pour in the melted coconut oil and sweetener, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps. Gradually drizzle in the lemon juice, whisking all the while.

Now, let the wet ingredients party with the dry ingredients, beating to prevent any cheeky lumps.

Scrape this sumptuously sticky mess into your prepared tin. Level with a spatula. Then bake for approximately 20 minutes, depending on the circumference of your tin (I use my 8×8 brownie tin). The deeper the tin is, the longer time it needs. If you leave it in longer than 30 minutes, I will throw a tantrum.

Remove the sponge from the oven, and admire. Let it cool for 60 minutes before ejecting from the tin. Then carefully slice the sponge in half (of course you could always double the recipe, and make two tiers instead). Smother great big clouds of coconut yoghurt over one half. Parachute a little chia jam on top of this. Then crown with the other half of the sponge.

Serve on a plate with many napkins and giddy fingers. And a side of Sinatra.

 

 

Vic Sponge eggs

This article has 35 comments

    1. Colette

      I usually use fresh raspberries in mine and it seems to be ok for up to a week (I’ve never had any left after this time so I don’t know if it would last longer) in the fridge

        1. Susan Jane

          Hi Katka. Ohhhhhh. I haven’t made nut-free changes but you could try chickpea flour which is a good sub for ground almonds in baked cakes. Let me know how you get on – I’d be confident to change 1:1. All the best! SJW

  1. Kate

    This recipe reminded me that I really wanted to get your take on the new unscented coconut oils that have been (apparently) only very lightly refined via steaming. I loved your Q&A on ingredientsin the book so wondered what your take on these oils is? I can’t find out much online other than suggestionsthat the minerals etc may be lost (vs extra virgin) but they still have the MCT fatty acid benefits etc. But nothing seems to be very consistent on it! 

    1. Susan Jane

      You read my mind! Am plotting to do a post on this very soon. In essence, coconut butter contains the fibre found in coconut meat and is more like macadamia butter than macadamaia oil (if that makes sense). The butter cannot be raw, as it is mildly heated then chilled to achieve the consistency (Biona and Tiana stress they do not hydrogenate the fats, which would be in keeping with their principles). The unscented is lightly steamed over quite a while, to remove the strong scent. Yes, its nutritional value is decreased but its form stays the same. I imagine its anti viral compounds are diminished, but its MCTs are unaffected (a cautious guess). I use it in this recipe because it works best and plays a good role in other recipes that will meet high temperatures in the oven.

      Hope this helps?! Working on another very niche book and going to nail all the outstanding questions I missed in the Nifty Q&A!

  2. Petreawalsh

    Oh my God,Susan I have just devoured two slices of the victoria sponge,It has to win a prize ,The nicest cake I have ever eaten ,
    In another life ,I loved a cream sponge,but as the song says nothing compares ,
    You are an amazing woman,  I have made a lot of your recipes ,and always love them ,but the sponge felt tasted like a really naughty treat ,
    Just keep  them rolling ,thanks Petrea

  3. Catherine

    I would like to make this sponge, but am a bit confused. I don’t see anywhere in the recipe where it tells you at which stage to combine the wet ingredients with the dry ones, i.e. the coconut flour, baking powder and almonds. Also there is reference made to a sweetener, again I don’t know what this is. Would appreciate clarification

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Catherine. Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve made it more obvious now. Hope this helps.

      The ‘sweetener’ refers to the choice of honey, brown rice syrup or agave listed in the ingredients list. Does that make better sense? It’s a fabulous recipe so I hope it finds your kitchen soon! SJ

    1. Susan Jane

      Yes. I use Biona’s unscented coconut oil (online is a cinch, otherwise your local health food store will stock it). Tiana also do a smaller tube for 5 euro. Hope this helps!

    1. Susan Jane

      Not with the coconut flour (it misbehaves, but agave, honey and br rice syrup work well for the sponge). But maple in a little soft cream cheese works well in place of coconut yoghurt which is tricky to find 😉

  4. Shelagh Aiken

    Looking forward to making the Victorian Sponge, the recipe looks yummy. BTW I’m Joan’s friend in NZ. I’m really enjoying your posts and looking forward to getting the book.

  5. Isabel

    Hi Susan,

    I am interested in trying this recipe but am not a fan of coconut. I wonder if I could substitute the coconut flour with ground almonds or other milled seeds or nuts?

    I love your ideas; the flaxseed focaccia is sheer genius – I adore it!

    Isabel

    1. Susan Jane

      I reckon so! EV coconut oil will work, but it burns a little around the edges and is very coconutty. If neither two bother you, then go for it. Coconut butter sounds like a decent replacement, but fairly pricey. Alternatively, you could order it in from your local health food store. Biona or Tiana are 2 brands that do it 😉 Good luck! It’s gorgeous!

  6. Brigette

    Hey Susan
    A few things..
    1) this looks amazing!
    2) I dont have any lemon juice. Could I sub with cider vinegar?
    3) Could I sub in \”normal\” yogurt for the coyo? …not sure how dairy and egg white play out…
    3) Would it work to sub in frozen blueberries in lieu of raspberries? Or not sweet enough?
    4) How long would the chia/berry jam last for?
    Thanks for answering all my questions!!!
     xx

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Brigette!

      In answer to all your questions, yes yes and yes! (clever lady). It should taste just as fabulous. As soon as the jam hits the yoghurt however, visually, you are on a countdown (the sponge begins to soak up the yoghurt and jam like any traditional victoria sponge). So … if you are serving it as a special occassion, leave the “filling” until you’re ready to serve. If it’s a personal treat, it hardly matters because it will taste amazing either way!

      The chia jam will last for 5-6 days as long as you give it some acid like lime or lemon. No probs!

      Good luck!

      SJ

  7. Dee

    Hi Susan
    Just made this and not a huge success for me! I did use egg replacer as I’m allergic to eggs and the sponge is too soggy and didn’t hold together.it doesn’t taste bad but just too wet.
    What consistency should the mix be before going in the oven as mine was quite thick?
    Any suggestions welcome.
    thx

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Dee. I’m afraid egg replacers are best suited to recipes with white flour and gluten. Chemically, they won’t work so well with coconut flour :\ The mixture is pasty before going in the oven, so you’re on the right track. I’m not familiar with baking using egg replacers, so perhaps it requires extra time in the oven? What do you think? Or maybe one less ‘egg’??? Sorry I can’t be of use this time. SJ

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Jo. You could reduce the sweetener by 20% and it will still work beautifully. Any further than 20%, and it will taste drier as the coconut flour needs liquid to absorb and swell. Any use? You could add sunwarrior to greek yoghurt and use it as an icing??? 😉

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