What comes to mind when you think sponge cake? Do you , like me, visualize an English classic layered with strawberry jam and whipped cream, served at a high tea whilst sipping on tea with my pinky up. Posh and elegant. Apart from the prettiness and social aspect; in all seriousness when I think of a sponge cake; three things comes to mind – light, airy and fluffy.
Yet this simple classic cake; is not always that easy to get right and many struggle to master it. Resulting in baking a cake that is dense. In my opinion anything slightly dryer and heavier is not a sponge cake but a normal vanilla cake. Baking a sponge cake is not complication but the secret to a light, airy and fluffy sponge cake is creating air when whipping the eggs and sugar. In addition, you need to ensure that the air does not escape during the folding technique. All of these I explain in my recipe instructions.
Then of course I love adding a little lemon zest to my recipe. The zest doesn’t change the texture of the cake but it does give it a flavour boost. Furthermore, it compliments the jam, berries and cream well. Let’s just say it is a winning combination. You can however omit this ingredient if you prefer the traditional sponge cake version.
Now that I have shared my recipe and method for this delicious light, airy and fluffy sponge cake, I hope you will make your own and nail it!
Light, Airy and Fluffy Sponge Cake
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 5 XL eggs (room temperature)
- 50 g salted butter (melted)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 180°C and spray and line a 20cm cake pan or 2 sandwich pans with parchment paper.
- Boil 30ml water in a saucepan over medium heat. Then lower the heat to simmer.
- In a glass bowl beat the eggs, then add the sugar and vanilla essence.
- Place the glass bowl on top of saucepan to act as double boiler - making sure the water does not touch the glass bowl. Continuously stir egg/sugar mixture for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and add the whip attachment. Alternatively you can use a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer.
- Whip mixture for 8 minutes until it doubles in size and it resembles a slight meringue colour.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together. Use a big metal spoon and gently fold spoonfuls at a time into mixture. Then add melted butter and lemon zest. Continue to gently fold in using the figure of 8 motion. Make sure the flour is well incorporated but do not over mix.
- Pour batter into the prepared cake pan/s and transfer to the preheated oven.
- If you are baking one cake then bake for 30 minutes. If you divided the batter into 2 x sandwich pans, then bake for 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the sponge cake from the cake pan/s immediately and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Make sure it is away from any drafts to prevent sinking.
- Top with fruit jam of your choice, whipped cream and berries or simply just dust with icing sugar. Serve and enjoy!