I was taught how to make a sponge mix at a ridiculously early age, so young in fact that I can’t remember exactly when it was. My Mum taught me how to cook and by about age 8, she generally left me to it to cook cakes on my own, as her guidance was no longer needed.
I want to share with you the complete basic elements of making good sponge, the way I learnt. See the thing is, once you’ve mastered the art of a Victoria Sandwich, new and exciting cake recipes suddenly become easier.
(By the way I still work in imperial measures as my Mum taught me)
The best tool for the job is a hand mixer; you can pick these up for around £5 in Tesco, Argos etc. It helps you keep control but doesn’t ache your arms and let’s enough air in to help fluff the mixture.
The golden rule:
Everything must be balanced.
The best way to get a balanced mix is to weigh out your eggs and make sure everything weighs the same as them.
8oz margarine or unsalted butter
8oz sugar (granulated will work just fine but caster sugar is better
8oz self-raising flour
4 eggs (or as near to 8oz)
A few drops of vanilla essence (worth spending money on a decent quality one)
A splash of milk (if needed)
Many people have their own way of blending ingredients but my fail safe way is as follows:
- Preheat oven to 180c/350f/Gas 4.
- You can grease two tins, but I always line with either foil or grease proof paper to ensure they turn out well
- Cream together the butter and sugar for a good few minutes, it should turn paler and peak
- Tip in a quarter of the flour and 1 egg, mix for a minute or so
- Do the same another 3 times and add the vanilla essence on the last lot
- Check the consistency of the mix. It needs to be thick and creamy but should (slowly) run off a spoon. If it’s a little thick then add a splash or two of milk
- Divide the mixture between the two tins
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, keep an eye on it
- Remove from the oven when ready and turn out onto a wire rack
- Add a filling such as whipped cream and fresh fruit or buttercream and jam or lemon curd
- Dust with icing sugar if you want to look professional
This same recipe can be used for fairy cakes.
9oz icing sugar
2 ¼ oz butter
Splash of water or milk
- Start with the icing sugar and butter and add a few drops of milk or water to help to mix (use a fork or electric mixer)
- Slowly add in more drops of liquid if needed until the right consistency is achieved