I love the internet, I especially love recipe searches. Even more I love researching dishes and comparing recipes. I don't want to just recreate one cook's interpretation but to understand the history and principles behind a dish/ingredient, so I can better experiment and tweak to my own taste.
So I researched. I soon discovered that American sponge recipes are very different from English sponge cake recipes, (hence my problems in the past replicating what I'd eaten in England and Australia with Joy of Cooking!). I learned that sponge cake was one of the first non-yeast cakes, making it one of the first "cakes" as we think of them today. As usual I found Wikipedia to be the most concise but there were lots of interesting recipes and blog entries out there on the subject.
Armed with my new found knowledge this is what I came up with. It was heavily based on a Food.com recipe. Below is my version.
It was super simple and quick to make up and was even better the second day. I used it as a shortcake, serving it with sliced strawberries (I marinated them in a spash of Grand Marnier) and real whipped cream. The next day I tried it minus the Grand Marnier and with a layer of Nutella spread on the cake - even better! I used rosewater in my cake but next time I'll try vanilla... For sure I'll never buy another sponge again!
Classic Sponge Cake
3 large eggs
butter, room temperature
caster or extra-fine sugar
self-rising flour, sieved
½-1 tsp vanilla extract, rosewater or lemon juice + some lemon rind
The measurements for this recipe are equal amounts of sugar, flour and fat to the weight of the eggs (weighed in their shells) -so if eggs weigh 8oz, use 8oz sugar, 8oz butter, 8oz flour. If eggs weigh 6oz, all ingredients will be 6oz.
Preheat oven to 350F (Gas 4, 160C (fan oven), 180C).
Grease and line the bottom of two 8” cake tins.
Cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl beat eggs until combined.
Gradually add eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
Fold flour into mixture.
Divide batter equally between prepared tins.
Bake for 25 minutes in the middle of the oven. (Do not open oven unnecessarily!)
Cakes are done when golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes in the tins.
Remove from the tins and cool completely on rack.
Serve as desired.
Yield: One 8” cake
Download a .pdf version