How To Make The Perfect Sponge Cake

Victoria SpongeEver set about making a beautiful cake from scratch, to rival that of the great Mary Berry and Mrs Beeton combined but somehow no matter how closely you follow the recipe it’s never quite right? Well, with my top tip you will be able to make the perfect sponge cake time and time again. I promise. 

Think of a moist and springy Victoria sponge. A sponge like your Grandma used to make, sandwiched around the freshest of fresh berries and cream that tastes like it’s been whipped by fairies, a Victoria sponge worthy of wiping the  floor and winning gold at the WI fair. You’ve creamed, you’ve beaten, you’ve lined  (or you’ve shoved it all in the magimix – we won’t judge you here) and your work of art goes into the oven which, baker extraordinaire, you remembered to pre heat, while you quite rightly pour yourself a well-deserved glass of wine.

The kitchen fills with the beautiful aroma of freshly baked cake, like a crazed stalker you peer through the oven door every two seconds to check its progress. You swell with pride when you see how doing well, it’s rising nicely – bravo you, another glass of wine.

Ding. Your timer goes and your cake of beauty is ready. This. Is. It.

Oven gloves at the ready you gingerly open the door and…umm, hang on just a tick, your sponge appears to have a peak the size of Mount Everest in the middle. That doesn’t happen to Mary or indeed our all-knowing Mrs Beeton.

And that, StyleNesters, is because they know a little trick. A little tip I will pass onto you. Pay attention it’s pretty technical….as if.

Simply use the back of a tablespoon to make a little well in the middle of the cake mixture before putting it in the oven.

It’s that simple. You will get a beautifully even sponge, which no doubt gets dropped on the floor as you’ve had two glasses of wine.

All this talk of Victoria sponges has made me hungry, so here is a lovely little recipe for you to try:

What You’ll Need:

  • 225g/8oz butter softened at room temperature
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar (plus a little for sprinkling on the top!)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g/8oz self raising flour
  • milk, to loosen
  • Double cream
  • Raspberry jam (or strawberry)
  • Mixed berries

What To Do:

1. Preheat yoru oven to 180C, then grease and line two 18cm cake tins with baking paper.

2. When your butter is nice and soft cream together in a large mixing bowl with the caster sugar using a wooden spoon until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

3. One by one beat in each of the eggs. Don’t worry if it looks like the mixture has split – it will come back together but you will have to give it some elbow grease. Don’t add the next eggs until the mixture comes back together.

4. Next stir in your vanilla extract – Neilsen Massey’s is the best.

5. Sieve you flour into a bowl to make sure you have no lumps, then add bit by bit into the butter, egg and sugar mix. Use a large metal spoon to “fold” in the flour. You might need to add a touch of milk to loosen the mixture – you will be able to tell when it’s the right consistency when the batter  drops softly from a spoon.

6. Next divide your batter evenly between the two cake tins – not forgetting the all-important dip in the middle with the back of your spoon. Bake for 20-25 mins until the cake is gold and springy to the touch – a skewer should come out clean as a test. Take your beautiful cakes out of the oven and leave them to cool in their tins for 5 mins. Use a blunt table knife to go around the edges of the tin to loosen the cakes. Turn out gently and leave to cool on wire racks.

7. While your cakes are cooling whip some fresh cream until it holds a firm peak. Once your sponges are cool sandwich your two layers together with a spreading of raspberry jam, the cream and then some fresh berries. Finish off with a sprinkling of icing sugar on the top.

8. Make a cup of tea and enjoy!

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