Classic Sponge

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Prep 25minBake 18-20minMakes 8 serves

There are two main tricks when making a sponge: don’t over whisk the mixture once you have added the flour, and keep a close eye on your sponge in the oven – it will be dry if over baked.


15g butter, melted and combined with 1½ teaspoons plain flour
4 x 59g eggs, at room temperature
165g (¾ cup) caster sugar
60ml (¼ cup) milk
30g butter, room temperature, diced
110g (¾ cup) self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
30g (¼ cup) cornflour
125ml (½ cup) pure cream, chilled
225g (⅔ cup) strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar, to dust


    1. To make the Sponge Layers, place the oven rack in the oven so that the cake tins will sit in the middle of the oven and then preheat it to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush two shallow 20cm/8in round cake tins with the melted butter mixture to grease and line the base of each with a round of non-stick baking paper. Brush the bases again with the melted butter mixture.
    2. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed to whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until the mixture is very thick and pale (this will take about 8 minutes). Lift the whisk out of the mixture and draw a figure eight, if the trail stays on the surface long enough to finish drawing, then the mixture is ready. If not, continue to whisk for a further minute.
    3. Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat and pour down the side of the mixing bowl. Quickly sift the flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture and then immediately whisk again with the electric mixer on low speed briefly until the flour mixture is just incorporated (be careful not to overmix). Scrape the base of the bowl and then whisk briefly again, if necessary.
    4. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins (see Baker’s Tips) and gently tap the tins on the bench top three times to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cakes are a pale golden colour, spring back when lightly touched in the centre and start pulling away from the sides of the tins. Remove from the oven and immediately use a small palette knife to loosen the top of the sponges from the tins and turn onto a wire rack (see Baker’s Tips), top side up, to cool completely.
    5. When ready to fill, use a hand-held electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a balloon whisk to whisk the cream until soft-firm peaks form. Spread one cake with the jam and then the whipped cream. Top with the remaining cake and dust with icing sugar.

    Baker's Tips

    • To divide the mixture evenly between the tins, weigh the tins with the mixture in them to make sure they are the same weight.
    • When removing the cakes from the tins, turn them onto a wire rack covered with a tea towel before inverting onto another rack. The tea towel will prevent the rack marking the tops of the cakes.
    • Sponge cakes are best eaten the day they are baked. Sandwich them together just before serving.

    Photography by Julie Renouf.