This is my bog standard, do it in your sleep, basic sponge cake recipe. It’s the basis to many of my creations as its quick to make, sturdy enough to carve and lets face it- who doesn’t like a simple Victoria sponge??
From these humble beginnings you can add a multitude of flavours. From lemon rind, to cocoa powder, caraway seeds to chocolate chips. Its like that LBD, dress it up or dress it down depending on the occasion. Ladle on the cream and scatter with seasonal fruits for a summer picnic, or torte it with alternate layers of dark and white chocolate ganache and take to a dinner party- Just experiment! If you’re not the adventures type however, stay tuned as I will be exploring these variations in further posts.
But hold on! Before you even pick up that spatula, you've first gotta read my previous blogpost: ‘top 5 tips for baking the perfect cake’. Read it already? Good. Then my only other advice would be to beat the butter and sugar together for as long as possible, until its fluffy as clouds. I’m talking at least 5 minutes on the highest setting of your mixer. It needs to be a completely different colour. And keep that speed going when it comes to adding the eggs. (although turn it down momentarily otherwise they’ll go everywhere!). This is the bases of a lovely light sponge.
Oh and finally- use the best quality vanilla extract (not essence) you can afford. Seriously, it makes all the difference.
Makes 1 x 8” Cake or 24 x cupcakes
- 400g Salted butter (preferably at room temperature, if not zap it in the microwave till its about 10% runny)
- 400g Caster Sugar
- 8 x Large free range eggs
- 400g Self raising flour
- 3 tbsp good quality vanilla extract
You will also need:
- 3 x loose bottomed sandwich pans, you’ll find a link to them in my previous blog post/ 2 x 12 hole muffin tins
- Greaseproof paper
- Cake release spray/butter and flour for greasing
- Bake even strips (optional)
- Ice cream scoop if you’re making the cupcakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180c, Gas Mark 4.
- Grease and line your cake tins. To do this I spray the tin with cake release and line the bottom with a circle of greaseproof paper. It’s much quicker/less faff. If you don’t have the spray you can use regular butter and flour round the edges. Whatever you do, it’s important to still line the bottom. If you’re making cupcakes, pop the cases into your muffin tins. (definitely muffin tins, not fairy cake tins as they’re much shallower)
- Beat the butter and sugar together on a high speed until pale and fluffy.
- Crack your eggs into a separate bowl and add your vanilla extract. Whisk them with a fork until just combined.
- Add your egg mixture, I do this by momentarily turning the mixer down to the lowest speed setting and pouring a couple of glugs in. Turn it back up to the highest speed setting and beat till incorporated. Do this bit by bit till all your egg mixture is gone. Don’t worry about over beating your mixture, you want it as whipped as possible. Put on your bake even strips if you’re using them at this point (details in previous post). Make sure to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl with a spatula and beat again for a couple of minutes to ensure the batter mixes evenly. It doesn’t matter if your batter separates at this point, it’ll come together during the next stage.
- Add your flour in two halves mixing on slow/medium speed after each time. Make sure you scrape down the sides regularly to ensure everything has mixed properly.
- Mix until combined but no more.
- For the sponge cake:
- Divide your mixture equally into your three cake tins and use a spatula to spread the mixture all the way to the edges.
- Place in the oven and give the Tina a turn after 16 minutes. Bake for approximately 22 minutes, if the sponge springs back when touched or you insert a sharp knife into the centre of each cake and they come out clean.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and place the tins on a wire rack. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then turn the cakes out. Once cooled, wrap in cling film and refrigerate/freeze until ready to use.
- For the cupcakes:
- Distribute your batter equally into your cupcake cases - an ice-cream scoop works best for this.
- Place your cupcakes in the middle of your oven and bake for +/- 16 minutes, checking and rotating them after about 11.
- The cupcakes are done when a sharp knife inserted into the centre of one comes out clean and they spring back when touched.
- When the cupcakes are ready, remove them from the muffin tray immediately and leave to cool on a wire rack. If they aren’t removed from their tray quickly enough the cases will begin to peel away from the cupcakes.
Want to make your sponge in another size or add another flavour? Here's my trusty guide: