Sponge cake is like my favourite pair of skinny blue jeans.
Worn with a fitted t-shirt and ballet flats, my blue jeans are my everyday wardrobe staple, suitable for the school run, cooking in, writing in and shooting in. But dressed up with a pair of heels, a sheer top and sharply tailored jacket, my blue jeans are equally appropriate attire for dinner or drinks with friends.
Like my blue jeans, sponge cake is a great, everyday kind of cake; it can be whipped up without fuss using pantry and fridge staples. But dressed up with fresh berries and flowers sponge cake can also be served at a fancy afternoon tea or dinner party.
I'd never made sponge cake before I got my KitchenAid stand mixer because I'm an impatient person and the thought of mixing something with a hand mixer for ten minutes made me feel faint. I know, I know - totally #1stworldproblems, right?
So sponge cake is a brilliant cake for lazy bakers because it's the stand mixer that does the heavy lifting.
A word of advice: sift all the dry ingredients. Usually, I ignore these types of instructions but it would be fatal to do so here. If you don't sift the cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda you'll end up with bitter little lumps baked into the cake here and there and it will totally ruin the experience for you. Trust me on this.
But sifting dry ingredients is a small price to pay for a cake that is otherwise so simple and straightforward.
To decorate this cake I've used a mixture of strawberries, dark cherries and blueberries. But use whatever berries you can find - raspberries and blackberries are equally good. The white flowers are from a coriander plant gone to seed at a friend's house.
If you're taking this cake to a friend's house, take the baked cakes, a bowl of whipped cream and the berries with you and assemble it on the spot. The beauty of this fruit and flower decoration is that it should look natural and haphazard so you don't have to worry about things like symmetry and perfect icing. Just start with the largest fruit first and then fill in the spaces with the second largest and so on.
Too easy, right? Perfect for so many different occasions, too. Just like my blue jeans :)
Sponge Cake with Berries and Cherries
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar (caster sugar, regular sugar or raw sugar)
- 3/4 cup cornflour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
- 500 mls thickened cream
- 1/3 cup icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 punnet strawberries
- 1/2 punnet blueberries
- 120 grams cherries (2 handfuls)
- Coriander flowers or other similar flower (optional) to garnish
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
- Spray two 20cm cake tins with baking spray or grease with butter or margarine.
- Beat eggs and sugar for 10 minutes.
- Sift cornflour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and flour into a medium bowl at least once but preferably thrice. The more times you sift the better the rise of the cake will be.
- Use the beater(s) to fold the sifted, dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture gently, trying to retain as much of the air in the mixture as possible.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes. Top should be springy and sides should be coming away with the pan.
- Let cakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove cakes from tin and place on a tea towel on the kitchen bench. Cover cakes with the cake tins and leave them to cool completely.
- To assemble, whip cream with powdered sugar until desired consistency.
- Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake stand. Using a spatula spread half the cream on the cake and use an offset spatula to smooth and tidy up. Place the other cake half on top and repeat.
- Decorate with berries and herb flowers or similar (optional).
- I used 2 x 20cms cake tins. Margret's original recipe specifies 2 x 18cm cake tins so if you use these your cakes will be higher than mine (and more impressive!). If you do use 2 x 18 cms cake tins, you'll need to increase the cooking time to 20-25 minutes.
- If you have a real sweet tooth you could spread a layer of berry jam on top of the bottom cake before adding the cream.
- This cake is best eaten on the day it's baked.
- Serves 8-10.
More Cake Recipes
- Rosewater, Cardamon and Pistachio Cake
- Strawberry and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
- J's Chocolate Banana Cake (egg and dairy free)
- Upside Down Plum Cake
- Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
I was gifted both the KitchenAid mixer and The Blue Ribbon Cookbook in 2012. Also, I ate 3 pieces of this cake yesterday and my blue jeans are now tight.
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