May 01, 2005

Basic Sponge Recipe

Ingredients

For each pint of liquid that the cake tin will contain, include:

  • 2oz (50g) Soft margarine
  • 2oz (50g) Caster sugar
  • 2oz (50g) Self-raising flour, sieved. (Actually, I always use plain flour and add baking powder to make it into self-raising)
  • 1 Egg
  • A splash of milk

Or, for cake tins I've got:

2x 10" diameter, 1.25" deep round sandwich tins12oz mix (6 eggs)
10"x10", 3" deep square tin14oz mix (7 eggs)

In order to make a chocolate sponge cake (which, of course, is the best kind :) replace some of the flour with sieved cocoa powder - I usually use about an ounce (25g) of cocoa.

Method

  1. Grease and line the cake tin(s) with either greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Then grease the lining paper. I generally don't bother lining the sides of the tin these days - it's easy enough to run a knife round the sides after it's baked and it saves all the messing around lining the sides...
  2. Put the oven on to warm up whilst you're preparing the mixture. Gas mark 3 (170°C / 325°F).
  3. Cream the margarine and sugar together. This is easier if the margarine is at room temperature, rather than straight from the fridge.
  4. Gradually add the flour, cocoa and eggs, making sure that the ingredients are blended to a uniform consistency. Traditionally, this is the stage where you fold the flour and eggs into the mix, and are instructed to ensure you incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture. Although I do use what's largely a folding action, I still use the wooden spoon I used in the previous step (rather than a knife) and find that it's more important to ensure the ingredients are all mixed together well. If you sieve the flour into the mix from a reasonable height, I doubt you'll have any problems with not getting enough air into it.
  5. Add the splash of milk, and mix well. I'm not completely convinced that you need the milk - it may just be a superstition of mine, or merely my own personalization of the recipe - but I like a moist cake, and find that this helps. The amount I add depends on the consistency of the mixture at this point; sometimes it's as little as a teaspoon, and it's never more than a tablespoon or so. I suppose experience has taught me what sort of consistency I'm after, and so I can judge how much to add based on that, but I can't even begin to explain what that desired (by me, after all, your cakes will no doubt by subtly different) consistency is.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin(s) and put into the oven.
  7. Enjoy the remaining cake mixture from the bowl :-) (although you shouldn't if you're in one of the risk groups for eating raw egg! Shame.)

Baking times will vary, depending on how big the cake is. Do not open the oven in the first half hour of baking! An 8" cake will take around 45 minutes, and cakes made in my 10" square cake tin take about 1 hour 15 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer slid into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, leave the cake in its tin for about five minutes to cool - during this time is will contract from the sides of the tin a little, making it easier to run a knife round the edges and remove from the tin onto a wire rack to cool properly.

Posted by Adrian at May 1, 2005 03:42 PM | TrackBack

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Comments

For a second I was expecting a BASIC Sponge Recipe.

Posted by: Andrew at May 3, 2005 11:12 AM

10 LET MARG_AMOUNT = 8
20 LET SUGAR_AMOUNT = 8
30 LET FLOUR_AMOUNT = 8
40 LET EGGS = 4
50 CALL CREAM_TOGETHER(MARG_AMOUNT, SUGAR_AMOUNT)
....

It's been too long since I tried to write any BASIC!

Posted by: Adrian at May 3, 2005 11:18 AM

Looks good to me!

(Tried hard to think of some cake related programming puns, but my brain isn't working too well today.)

Posted by: Andrew at May 3, 2005 02:52 PM

very helpful...thanks a lot :O)

Posted by: Sheila at July 18, 2005 01:06 PM

Fab recipe, try adding a few pineapple chunks and some desicated coconut for something more tropical in those winter months when you need a bit of a lift.....It's fab

Posted by: Joanna at September 17, 2005 10:58 AM

Interesting idea. Haven't experimented with fruit in the cake mix itself. Maybe it's time I started... :-)

Posted by: Adrian at September 19, 2005 02:51 PM

poop.

Posted by: janet at January 8, 2006 06:14 PM

how much baking powder should i add to plain flour to make it self raising? i'm a bit of a novice!!

Posted by: laura at March 1, 2006 12:49 PM

I can never remember how much baking powder to use, so I always have to check the baking powder packaging. Looking at the packet in my cupboard, it says that for a sponge cake you need to add 3 teaspoons of baking powder to every 8 oz of plain flour in your mix.

Posted by: Adrian at March 1, 2006 03:14 PM

thank you!

Posted by: laura at March 1, 2006 03:23 PM

very good recipe-my cake turned out to be more
creamier than normal.

Posted by: donna at July 11, 2006 09:14 PM

Just wondering, does it _need_ to be Caster sugar? Ever tried with plain old granulated?

Posted by: Ross at August 6, 2006 10:16 PM

I haven't tried it with granulated, but then I don't bother buying granulated and just use caster anywhere where I'd use granulated (in tea, etc.)

It should still work, but it might take a bit more effort to cream the margarine and sugar together.

I think you can also convert granulated into something resembling caster sugar by putting it into a bag and then smacking it repeatedly with a rolling pin, but I accept no responsibility for any damage which may occur to you or your kitchen if you try it :-)

Posted by: Adrian at August 8, 2006 02:21 PM

Just ref the pineapple/coconut idea, I've done this before and you should toss the pineapple chunks in flour first, especially if your pineapple is from a tin. Reasons being;

1. It absorbs the extra juice, and prevents the cake texture from being watered down too much

2. It helps to prevent all the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Hope this is of use ;)

Posted by: MIke at September 3, 2006 11:32 AM

Cheers Mike - that sounds like a top tip. Not sure what someone so obviously experienced at cake making is doing poking round the 'net reading basic sponge recipes though... ;-)

Posted by: Adrian at September 11, 2006 11:16 PM

I've often used granulated sugar in my cake recipes and it comes out just fine. I do use an electric mixer though so no extra work with the creaming etc. Also you can use brown sugar instead of white, gives it a different flavour but very good.

Posted by: Janet T at October 22, 2006 10:01 AM

thanks me and my girlfreind just ate a nice meal now were making a random cake thanks to u oh well hopfully ill get some cake later

Posted by: lee at November 29, 2006 09:20 PM

Up until now the only cooking I've done has been in the army feeding hundreds of people. My version of a basic sponge recipe involves trays of eggs and Kilos of flour! I fancied making a few home made cakes, but couldn't be bothered to get my cook books out of the attic, so I just Googled it. Works a treat by the way!

Posted by: Mike at March 25, 2007 10:23 AM

Just reading this recipe and decided to try it. So I'm 25 minutes into cooking a chocolate sponge. I can't wait to try it :-)

Posted by: Dave at April 5, 2007 12:03 AM

wow incredible... i didn't burn the house down making this :D

great recipe :)

Posted by: sarah at August 9, 2007 01:12 PM

Great recipe, we made a small birthday cake for our friend and turned out really good, thanks :-)

Posted by: Lucy and Roesheen at September 13, 2007 05:30 PM

Woohoo! Happy Birthday Your Friend :-)

Posted by: Adrian at September 13, 2007 06:43 PM

thank you ever so much. im 16 and moving out to live on my own and ive got posh family comming over and i want to show off and thanks to you i now can lol x x

Posted by: amie at September 13, 2007 08:55 PM

Thanks for the sponge recipe, it's really good!
I made something like jam tarts but instead of the jam, you put a square of chocolate i9n the pastry and then add a dollop of chocolate sponge on top and put in the oven! It's the best thing in the world! Well...after chocolate brownies of course!

Posted by: Delilah at October 11, 2007 07:25 PM

try putting the pinapple ect at the bottom of the tin before you add the mixture makes a gr8 upside down cake yum. ^_^

Posted by: danny at October 19, 2007 05:25 PM

me and my sister had a sudden urge to bake today and we foubd the recipe very simple and helpful

thank you very much =]

Posted by: Alice at January 19, 2008 05:46 PM

well me and charlotte were making a cake for our best friends birthday. The cake recipe was an easy following basic way for us to make his beautiful masterpiece..... although when it came out of the oven it wa black and crusty just like your big toe!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx lyl xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by: laura and charlotte at January 25, 2008 08:45 PM

I've just used this recipe and it's in the oven now!!

I used coconut and have prepared a coconut cream filling (simple icing + butter + coconut).

I just LOVE coconut :D

Thanks!!!

Posted by: Matt at February 5, 2008 07:33 PM

I always use this (your) recipe. It works a treat. I always mix in some coconut flakes and top it with strawberry icing. Lush!!

Posted by: Deborah at March 7, 2008 02:28 PM

What a beautiful recipe! It's been a very long time since I made a sponge, and using your recipe, they turned out just fine!
I did chocolate in half the mixture, and added chunks in too. The other half I added sultana's, cherry, nutmeg and cinnamon. Other change was that I used demerara sugar instead of caster, which was I am sure different, but very pleasant.
Really light, moist sponges.
Thank you very much!

Posted by: alice at April 20, 2008 02:02 AM

to make a large tin cake do i have to add extra flour and sugar as havnt a clue thankyou

Posted by: chrissie at April 24, 2008 09:34 AM

@everyone - glad the recipe is working well, and still helping people; almost three years since I first posted it!

@Chrissie - I don't ever add extra flour and sugar when making bigger cakes, and the 10" square cake is pretty big. So I think you'll be okay just to use the recipe as is. Happy baking!

Posted by: Adrian at April 24, 2008 11:25 AM

Just about to crack on making a 1st birthday cake for my son using this recipe.... is anyone able to offer any advice on icing?

Plan is to bake 10" square sponge then cut it into a number 1 shape.... am I biting off too much I wonder????????!!

Posted by: Sophie at June 10, 2008 08:55 AM

Hi Sophie,

I don't think cutting a 10" square cake into a number 1 is too complicated.

Icing-wise, I don't tend to follow any recipe as such, and just mix things together until I get the right consistency. The downside (or is that upside...) to that is that I usually end up with far too much by the time I've got it right...

For basic, normal icing it's just a mixture of a little bit of water (I'd start with a teaspoon of water) with lots of icing sugar. If you want to colour it then add a couple of drops of food colouring.

If you want something that isn't quite as smooth a finish (which is often handy to cover the odd patch of not-quite-perfect cake underneath, then make something like buttercream. Again I don't have a specific recipe I'm afraid, but if you start with something like 125g (5oz) of icing sugar, 75g (3oz) of butter or margarine, and a teaspoon or two of water or milk. Then mix it all together and add small amounts of icing sugar or butter to get it to a stiff consistency. You can use cocoa instead of some of the icing sugar if you want chocolate buttercream, or if you want to colour it just add some food colouring.

Good luck with it all, I hope your son enjoys it :-)

Posted by: Adrian at June 10, 2008 09:50 AM

Hi Adrian, Lovely site - just what the internet is supposed to be about! Thanks for the comments on milk in a sponge mix, it helped resolve a family dispute!
Mike

Posted by: Mike Wood at May 17, 2009 11:58 AM

Thanks for recipe. Was in a bit of a panic - have to make a cake tonight and only have plain flour!

Posted by: at June 18, 2009 07:52 PM

to make chocolate sponge 10" square how much cocoa pwoder do you use? You have said one ounce but is that 7 ounces for a 10" cake???

Posted by: jane roberts at June 29, 2009 09:58 PM

to make chocolate sponge 10" square how much cocoa pwoder do you use? You have said one ounce but is that 7 ounces for a 10" cake???

Posted by: jane roberts at June 29, 2009 09:58 PM

Hi I am makeing a very large version of this recipe (the tin holds 10 pints!)how long and at what temp would you suggest? thanks for any help

Posted by: mike at July 30, 2009 10:22 PM

Hey I've just found this website and think it makes the best cake that rises well, 1 problem is that my cake raises a lot bigger in the middle so I can't really ice together as not flat, any advise?

Posted by: Sam at February 18, 2010 09:25 PM

How much people does the cake serve

Posted by: George at March 10, 2010 04:12 PM


Can this sponge be frozen and iced when thawed out?

Posted by: Jean at March 22, 2010 04:32 PM

hi i've recently went back to homemade cooking and i've found no matter i do all my sponge cake recipes keeps coming out crispy round the edges PLZ HELP ME cause it takes the freshness away from my beautiful cake ??????

Posted by: amanda mcroberts at April 5, 2010 09:13 AM

im having the same trouble middle of cake is beautiful but edges hard

Posted by: lisa at May 4, 2010 04:40 PM

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

Posted by: at February 24, 2011 07:07 AM

Hi was wondering what weights i would need for a 8"? thank you

Posted by: kimberley at March 7, 2011 11:48 AM

Hi Kimberley,

For an 8" tin I think you'd want an 8oz (with 4 eggs) mix.

Good luck with the baking.

Posted by: Adrian at March 7, 2011 03:25 PM

thanks very much!!
another question now!!! what is this like to shape/ as i am going to do a novelty cake out of it.
i must say it tastes stunning!! made 2 10" squares and i ate all the bits i trimmed off ha ha

Posted by: kimberley at March 8, 2011 09:41 AM

could you adapt this cake for coffee/coconut/lemon??

Posted by: kimberley at March 17, 2011 09:02 AM

Thanks! I'm a sponge novice and this was so easy! xx

Posted by: Kate at March 29, 2011 04:32 PM

thanks for this article, good continuation

Posted by: mutuelle optique at May 19, 2011 11:24 AM

Hi, Thanks for sharing this Basic Sponge Recipe. I would definitely try to make this as soon as possible. Keep posting.

Posted by: register a domain at May 31, 2011 04:57 AM

heya i just have my cake trays in the oven am making a birthday cake for my daughter who will be one in december, so hopefully this practice test will prove i can do it for then lol, thankyou for the recipe, and i hope it turns out as well as im hopeingxx

Posted by: kirsty at October 8, 2011 12:13 AM

Really thanks!

Posted by: Comparatif mutuelle at October 17, 2011 10:12 AM

yh The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by: Shad Stayner at November 16, 2011 08:01 PM

it looks very yummy, but I have to try it myself. maybe this weekend. I'll tell you how it was...thanks

Posted by: mutuelle optique at November 25, 2011 03:30 PM

Hi
I would like to bake a chocolate 12" square cake. Is the recipe above for one layer or 2?. To get a better cake should i do 2 cakes and lay them next to each other or one big one? Does anyone have the quantities for a 12" cake please i would like to either be able to cut it so that i can put chocolate spread in the middle or bake the layers seperately. Thanks for any help.

Posted by: Emma at January 23, 2012 01:39 PM

yup! i make it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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