Sponge cake recipe

A sponge cake might seem like a pretty simple thing to make, but this recipe has never failed me. It's very easy and I got the recipe from my mum, who got it from my nan and it was possibly passed down before her, who knows but its definitely been used by 3 generations.

Sponge cake recipe

Cake ingredients

125g margarine
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
few drops vanilla essence
125g self raising flour.

Icing ingredients

90g icing sugar
40g butter
few drops vanilla essence or lemon juice
jam (seedless strawberry)


Preheat the oven to 180 °C, or 160 °C for a fan oven. Get two sandwich cake tins, grease, line with greaseproof paper and grease that as well. First measure out the margarine and put it in a mixing bowl. Weigh and sieve the sugar in, give it a good mix until it's really creamy with no lumps using a wooden spoon. Or put it in your food mixer and let it do the hard work! Next crack the eggs one at a time and mix in well. Add vanilla essence next. Once this is all combined well, weigh out the flour. Sieve it into the bowl a bit at a time. Fold it in carefully, being careful not to beat hard or the cake. Put half in each tin, spread evenly with a knife or spatula, making a slight dent in the centre. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes, it should be a lovely golden brown, insert a skewer into the middle, if it is clean it is thoroughly cooked. Let them cool for a bit before transferring to a wire rack. When cooled completely you can add the icing.
For the icing, sieve the icing sugar into the butter. The butter is much easier to use at room temperature. Spread over one side of the cake, add jam to the other side and sandwich together. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and its ready to enjoy!

Here's some tips for your cake to make it even better...

  • All the ingredients are supposed to be at room temperature. 
  • You're technically supposed to weigh the eggs, then measure all the ingredients to the exact same weight, but it usually does to come about 4oz and I never have time to do that. 
  • My key tip is to never skip the vanilla essence. I did once as I had run out and my cake basically had no flavour. If you don't have any I suggest you make a chocolate cake instead. 
  • If you don't having any greaseproof paper you can use this old fashioned method that works the same. Grease the tin on the bottom and the sides. Put some flour in, the tilt/shake your tin to coat it all over with flour. 
  • ALWAYS sieve the flour and sugar, this is very important so you don't get any lumps. Also try to get a bit of height as this will help get air into the cake. The more air the better.
  • The dents in the mixture are so you cake rises evenly. It will always rise more in the middle, so this helps the cake to have more of a flat shape which is obviously much neater looking.
  • To make a chocolate version add roughly 2 tablespoons of cocoa or as I prefer Cadburys drinking chocolate, I find it is a little less bitter which I don't particularly like. If it goes a little dry add a tiny amount of water, but I never need to so you shouldn't.
  • I refer to this as a vanilla sponge rather than a victoria sponge as mine is never perfectly light and airy, when I finally achieve that one day I will call it that! That said I am always perfectly happy with how it turns out!
  • As for the vanilla or lemon in the icing it depends if you like it really sickly sweet like me or if you want to reduce the sweetness just a little and therefore the lemon juice helps give a good flavour balance.
  • If you can't get self raising flour, use all purpose flour and add a teaspoon of baking powder.
  • For other ovens- 350 °F or 325 °F for a fan oven or gas mark 5 or 3 with a fan. My oven is VERY efficient so I actually cook on 150 °C, adjust it accordingly to your own oven, only you know your oven!

Hope that was helpful, if you have any questions of feel I have missed anything let me know :)
B. xoxo

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