Sponge cakes are popular with all the family but often they can turn out to be quite dry. By far the best method to avoid this problem is the creaming method (when the eggs and sugar are beaten together before the rest of the ingredients are added) – the rich, moist Victoria Sandwich is often made this way.
For years I’ve been using a sponge cake recipe from a cookbook I was given for Christmas. The recipe is super-easy to follow, even for absolute beginners, and the cakes turn out perfectly each and every time.
It’s so good, I use it for every birthday cake that I bake; all I change is the filling and topping.
So if you’re looking for the ultimate cake recipe, look no further! All you have to do if follow these simple steps and you’ll be guaranteed to bake the best cake you’ve ever tasted – perfect for birthdays and other celebrations.
Ready to be blown away? Then get your ingredients ready and we’ll begin!
You will need, for the (basic) cake:
6ozs/ 170g of self-raising flour (sieved)
6ozs/ 170g caster sugar (sieved)
6ozs/ 170g butter
TOP TIP: For best results, leave the butter and eggs out of the fridge for a few hours before you begin baking.
And for the (basic) filling/ topping:
8ozs/ 225g icing sugar (sieved)
4ozs/ 115g unsalted butter (softened)
Two mixing bowls (one large)
A wooden spoon or food mixer
A metal spoon
Two 7in/ 18cm sandwich tins
A wire cooling rack
Method: Making the Cake
- Turn your oven on, set to 350°F/ 180°C/ Gas Mark 4.
- Grease the two sandwich tins with the paper from the butter.
- Place your measured butter in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon (or food mixer) until it’s fully softened and looks ‘fluffy’.
- Gradually add a small amount of caster sugar to the bowl and continue to beat until fully incorporated into the mixture. Continue to add the sugar until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. This should take approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Crack one egg on the side of the bowl. Let the egg white drain into the smaller bowl, moving the yolk from shell to shell until all the white has gone. Drop the yolk into the creamed butter and sugar and beat until combined, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl regularly. If the mixture begins to curdle (if your eggs are cold) add a little flour and continue to mix. Incorporate all three eggs in this way.
- Gradually add the flour to the mixture, continuing to beat with your spoon or mixer.
- Whisk the egg whites in the smaller bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Pour the egg whites into the bowl containing the cake mixture. Taking the metal spoon, slowly fold the egg whites into the mixture until it’s completely combined. This stage is the real secret to a light, moist sponge.
- Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a small knife, metal skewer or wooden cocktail stick into the middle of one cake – if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
- Pop the cakes out of the tins and leave to cool on the wire rack.
If you want to make a more interesting cake, here’s some tasty variations:
Coffee sponge – stir 2 tablespoons of good quality coffee into some warm milk. Add alternately with the flour (as in #6).
Lemon (or any citrus) sponge – grate the zest and juice of one lemon into the mix as you add the flour.
Chocolate sponge – make a paste using 1-2 tablespoons of coca powder in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water. Add alternately with the flour.
Moca sponge – make up coffee and chocolate mixtures as above. After adding the flour, divide the cake mixture into two separate bowls. To one, add the coffee and half the egg whites; to the other add the chocolate and the remaining egg whites. Process as instructed above. Into each sandwich tin spoon alternating portions of the coffee and chocolate mixtures . This will result in a marble-effect once baked.
Method: Making the Buttercream
A buttercream filling and topping works well with this type of cake, though if you’re making a Victoria Sandwich you can opt for a strawberries-and-cream filling and only a light dusting of sugar on top.
A plain buttercream, consisting of just butter and sugar, is lovely but if you have made a chocolate cake, for example, then make a chocolate buttercream. To do this, simply add the same quantities of coffee, citrus, chocolate or moca as described above.
- Put the unsalted butter in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or food mixer until it’s soft and fluffy.
- Gradually add the icing sugar, beating until it’s fully incorporated before adding more.
- If adding a liquid, alternate small amounts of the liquid with the icing sugar. Similarly, if the mixture becomes too liquid, add more sugar, or too solid, add more liquid.
- When the mixture is completely mixed, firm and fluffy, spread it in the middle, on top and along the sides of your cake, using a flat knife to smooth it on.
- Decorate with candles, candied fruit, chocolate buttons, or enjoy as is