The European sponge cake is a light and airy cake that contains three basic ingredients: eggs, sugar, and flour. It is very versatile – it can be eaten plain, it can be flavored and soaked with extracts or liqueurs, it can even be filled with whipped cream or buttercream, or it can be topped with jam, preserves, curd, or fruit purees.
The European sponge cake we now know can trace its humble beginnings during the reign of Victoria in 19th century England. This is where it got its moniker of Victorian sandwich. The Queen reportedly liked hers served during her afternoon teas. The European sponge cake is traditionally filled with raspberry and whipped double cream, and is served like a sandwich. But because of the cake’s versatility, it goes so well with many ingredients that you can use to fill and top it with.
For many of us, a sponge cake is what started us down the baking path; after all, it’s simple enough to make: beating butter and sugar together, adding eggs, then folding in flour to make a simple but delectable sponge. Here is a basic foolproof recipe for a fluffy European sponge cake without having to reach for a packet. For the American sponge cake recipe, click here.
What You Will Need:
- 225g of self-rising flour
- 225g of butter
- 225g of caster sugar
- 4 eggs, preferably free-range and at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
What You Need to Do
- Grease your pan and line it with baking parchment.
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Sponge cake batter waits for no one, so if your oven is not hot enough when you put in the batter, it will affect the way it rises.
- In a bowl, mix butter and sugar together using an electric whisk, and beat well to let the air in.
- Add the eggs one at a time.
- Gently and quickly fold in the flour and baking powder into the mixture using a rubber spatula.
- Continue mixing, but make sure not to overdo to prevent it from deflating.
- Pour your cake batter into your pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Create a slight dip in the center of the batter if you don’t want the sponge cake to be a little raised in the middle.
- Place it in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. You can tell it’s cooked when it springs back after being gently pressed with a finger.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in a rack.
- Apply the finishing touches. You can dust icing sugar on top and serve as is, or fill it with whipped cream, fresh, or preserved fruit.