Recipes

Baking the Perfect Sponge

I often get asked how my sponge cakes as so light and fluffy – so I thought I would share my very simple recipe which actually I was given by my lovely ex housemate.

Butter V Margarine?
First up I generally use stork or supermarket own brand baking margarine… if Mary Berry says cakes are better with margarine than butter then it must be true!
Take the stork out of the fridge half an hour before you’d like to use it to allow it to get to room temperature, this makes it easier to cream with the sugar.

Prepare your tins and preheat your oven (170⁰  or 160⁰ fan)
Put your cupcake or muffin cases in tins or line the base of your sandwich tins with greaseproof paper or reusable liners.

Next is the key part to the recipe – Weigh your eggs
You will use the same weight of all of the other ingredients.  You can use the same ratio of ingredients for any size of cake – a few cupcakes, a traybake or a multi-tier cake.

8 inch Victoria Sponge – you will need 4 eggs,( large eggs will create a deeper cake, but medium eggs are adequate if that is all you have).

Cupcakes – 1 egg makes 4 -6 cupcakes depending on the size of the eggs and cupcake or muffin cases.

Deep square cakes – you use roughly 1 large egg per square inch, so a ten inch square cake will use ten eggs.

Weigh your ingredients
So now you know the weight of your eggs, weigh out the same amount of margarine and caster sugar. Beat together with a wooden spoon, hand mixer or if you are super lucky a K mix or Kitchen aid! I was very lucky to have been bought Mr Stripey (My K mix) as a house-warming present. He was an amazing gift and has had so much use. At that point I couldn’t have justified spending that amount of money on a mixer, but 7 years later I couldn’t imagine life without him!

Which flour?
Next up weigh out your self-raising flour (again the same amount as the eggs) and SIFT it, this is super important – it aerates the flour and gets rid of any lumps.  Any self-raising flour will work, although McDougals Sponge flour is finer than standard flour and does make a more superior sponge.

Beat your eggs along with your vanilla essence, then mix into your creamed mixture gradually along with a spoonful of flour at a time, (this stops the mixture curdling). Once all of the eggs are mixed in, slowly fold in your sifted flour.

Pour into your prepared tins, or cupcake cases and bake in your preheated oven.
Cupcakes can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 20 minutes depending on the size of the cupcake or muffin cases.
8 inch sandwich tins take around 20 – 25 minutes.
When the sponge is golden brown, springs back after you touch it and a skewer comes out cleanly, they are done.
Try not to open the oven in the early stages of the cakes rising or they make flop back down.
Cool on a wire rack and decorate as you wish.