When you’re a child, Valentine’s Day is simple. Get a card for everyone in your class and it’s smooth sailing. If you want to up the anti, tape a mini chocolate heart to each Valentine and you’re golden. But somewhere along the way, this non-holiday holiday gets a lot more complicated. Around Jr. High the cinnamon heart eating contests give way to tears, embarrassment, and general bewilderment. But why? How can a violently pink holiday have so much sway over our health and well-being? It’s kind of bullsh*t, right? So, by way of half-hearted protest, the only thing I’m doing this Valentine’s Day is giving you these Victoria Sponge Cupcakes. I made them appropriately cute but that is all. I’m no longer engaging in this farce.
Do I sound jilted? Believe me, I’m not. My relationship is rock solid and I’m perfectly content with where I am in life. To be honest, the worst thing in my life right now is winter. But hey, the Olympics help. I just think Valentine’s Day is stupid and I said as much last year. I don’t like that inspires feelings of dissatisfaction. And, honestly, people in relationships don’t need to be celebrated. We’re celebrated every day. The world really was built for two. Valentine’s day is redundant. Sigh! But it’s also cute.
As a woman who tries to maintain her dignity, emphasis on “tries”, I tend to not wear a lot of pink. Yeah, it’s stupid but I feel if I express my love for the apparently feminine shade, I lose points in the respect department. To be honest, I’ve sort of always felt that way. To like something overly girly is to be ridiculous. So, there is something liberating about Valentine’s Day…I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. On Valentine’s Day, you can make things that are so cute you could puke. It gives you license to put hearts on top of hearts on top of glitter, permission to match red with pink unironically, and generally be kitschy as all hell. For instance, these Victoria Sponge Cupcakes are definitely not my usual bag.
These cupcakes are not as sophisticated as my Midnight Blue Tarts or as classy as my Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Cakes. They are too cute for words, and cute isn’t something I do all that often. Sure, these cupcakes are based on the classic Victoria Sponge Cake but the heart-shaped windows are far from old-world elegance. But, whatever, it’s almost Valentine’s Day.
These Victoria Sponge Cupcakes are a cinch to make. They have minimal, common ingredients and you can pull them off in an afternoon. The only finicky part is the heart cutouts. Be gentle with your cookie cutter, the cupcake tops are prone to cracking. I find it’s best to cut from the cut side of the cupcake top. The best advice I can give you is to go slow with the heart cut-outs – they can be real jerks.
Other than the chance of broken hearts, the remaining steps of these darling cupcakes could not be simpler. You’re only a quick homemade whipped cream and a scoop of strawberry preserves away from adorable, sugar-spun bliss. Who needs cinnamon hearts and generic Valentine’s Day cards when you got these Victoria Sponge Cupcakes in your corner?
In closing, Valentine’s Day is stupid but pink and red kitsch is totally not. Celebrate all the glorious tackery of Cupid’s day and leave the emotional baggage crap behind. In other words, make these Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Strawberry Preserves.
Happy V-day, friendos! ✌🏻
Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Strawberry Preserves
- 1 1/3 cups unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups + 1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar divided
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the butter and 2 cups of the sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale yellow.
- Add the eggs one at a time, fully integrating each egg before adding another.
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until a slightly thick batter forms.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into two prepared muffin tins lined with cupcake sleeves. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until set and golden brown.
- Remove the cupcakes from the tins and let cool completely on a cooling wrack.
- Peel the sleeves off of the cooled cupcakes. Cut each cupcake in half. Using a small 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut a heart out of each cupcake top. Go slowly because the cupcakes can crack. It's best to apply the cookie cutter to cut side of the cupcake top. Once cut, place the cupcake tops on a board and dust them lightly with confectioner's sugar, using a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
- Place the whipping cream and the remaining sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the cream on the highest setting until stiff peaks form. About 3-5 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip - such as a Wilton #10.
- Pipe a layer of cream on the cut-side of the cupcake bottoms. Top the cream with a spoonful of strawberry jam. Use roughly 1 teaspoon of jam per cupcake.
- Place the sugar dusted cupcake tops on top of the jam. Serve the cupcakes immediately with tea, coffee or a cold glass of milk.