Spiced Victoria sponge with amaretto and jam

This spiced Victoria sponge is infused with amaretto for the ultimate Christmas treat.

Chris Alack


225g diced unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
225g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon plus extra for dusting
100ml amaretto
icing sugar for dusting

100g mascarpone
100g quark
100g your favourite red fruit jam

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Butter a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin about 8cm deep (or see Tin Tip below). Using an electric whisk on high speed, whisk the butter in a large bowl for 1-2 minutes until very pale and fluffy, then add the sugar and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition until combined. Sift and whisk in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in two goes, just lightly, then whisk in the amaretto. Transfer the mixture to your tin and smooth the surface.

2. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges and leave to cool before removing from the tin. When ready to fill, slit the cake into two layers using a bread knife.

3. For the filling, combine the mascarpone and quark in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Spread this over the lower half of the cake up to the rim. Work the jam in a bowl and spread this on top. Sandwich with the top half. Dust with icing sugar (you could use a paper doily as a template) and a little more cinnamon. Cover and chill for a few hours if wished and return to room temperature to serve.

TIN TIP You can also use 2 x 20cm tins at least 4cm deep, dividing the mixture evenly between them (weigh it for accuracy). Reduce the baking time to 30-35 minutes.

Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.