For many, the very thought of baking sends shivers down the spine. Yet a sponge cake is one of the easiest and most enjoyable recipes you can make. Whether you're making a very simple classic Victoria sponge or something more elaborate, you could go from making the cake to eating it in under 90 minutes!
I'm not really certain why cakes have a reputation for being daunting. In fact, cakes are what recipes were invented for. Follow the recipe and the cake will turn out perfect every time! There's no playing around, no adding your own 'little touches'. You read the recipe, buy the ingredients then prepare the cake according to the recipe and hey presto, you have a cake ready to eat.
Sometimes part of the problem lies in the variability of ovens. Everything else in a cake recipe follows a set pattern but ovens can differ from house to house and type to type. Many of the basic recipes we have today were written in the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s where fan-assisted ovens were rare. As a result, those trying those recipes in the new ovens found that no matter what they did, the cakes would almost always burn.
If you are following an old recipe and you do have a fan-assisted oven then turn the temperature of the oven down by 10 ° C lower than the temperature in the oven. Bake for the same amount of time as given in the recipe, but cover the top of the cake with kitchen foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to prevent the cake from burning. Then you will get perfect results.
Remember also that when you can smell the cake cooking it's almost done. Even if the recipe says you have another 20 minutes to go always check the cake when you can smell it, as it may have cooked much faster than you thought.
Below you will find recipes for a classic, simple Victoria sponge and a slightly more elaborate cake:
Victoria Sandwich Cake
180g sifted self-raising flour
180g softened butter
180g caster sugar
3 medium eggs (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
Small amount of milk to aid decreasing consistency
Jam of your choice for filling (Strawberry, black cherry, plum)
Icing sugar to dust top of cake
Two 20cm sandwich tins with 3