Sponge cakes are so called because they are as fluffy as a sea sponge. The air incorporated into the batter lifts the cake to make it light and irresistible. Since it is used as a base for many other desserts it’s one of the first cake recipes that I wrote down in my little black book of Baking! (Yes, I have one – though the color is more navy blue than black). There are many variations to turn out a perfect sponge. I use the method which involves creaming the eggs and sugar and adding the melted fat in the end. Some people use oil instead of butter, but I always think butter makes everything better, so you know my leanings! You can eat the sponge cake like a Victorian Sandwich – jam and whipped double cream or use it for a rolled cake like a Swiss Roll. (The flexibility of a sponge cake allows us to roll it without breaking). I have used it as a base for the popular English Trifle. Now the Trifle is nothing but a combination of layers of cake, custard, fruit and cream. But it is an impressive looking dessert to turn out! I use ready mix custard and jelly which saves me time. You can also go ahead and use a ready cake as the base of the trifle. (I won’t tell anyone!) But it’s so cost effective and easy to make at home, that I desist buying some from the bakery. Once you have all the ingredients, a trifle pudding is just assembly – though you have to wait a trifle between steps. Like George Savile said, “A man who is a master of Patience is a master of everything else”. (I don’t think he had a wife…’master of everything else’ ….hmph!) J
Fluffy Sponge Cake
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 (makes one 8X8 inch cake or two 20cm round cakes)
What you need:
¾ cup (165 gms) Caster Sugar
1 cup (150 gms) Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 tablespoon Cornflour
10 gms (2 teaspoons) Butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup (80 ml) Hot Water
What to do:
Pre-heat oven to 180°C for a normal oven or 160°C for a fan-forced oven. Grease one 8×8 inch square cake pans, and line the base with baking paper. (Baking paper makes it easy to remove the sponge cake – other be prepared to lose large chunks to the pan).
Beat eggs in a bowl, using an electric mixer, for about 10 minutes, until thick and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved. Triple-sift flour, baking powder, salt and corn flour together and fold it into the egg mixture gently. (Folding in flour and other ingredients can be tricky when you use a spoon or spatula, but you can use your fingers to pull the dry ingredients up and through the egg mixture).
Combine the melted butter and the water, pour it down the side of bowl and fold through gently
but thoroughly. Pour mixture into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Immediately turn out the sponges to cool, top-side up, onto a wire rack covered with baking paper. Cool and use as you please.
Basic Trifle Pudding
What you need:
4 cups Vanilla Custard (Prepared from 500ml milk and 3-4 tbsp Custard packet mix)
2 cups Jelly (prepared from 1 packet – I used Rex)
2 cups fresh Cream whipped with 3 Tbsp Sugar
1 Sponge Cake Base
2 cups of mixed Fruit (strawberries, cherries, pineapples, apples, grapes)
What to do:
In a big glass bowl, layer the sponge cake at the base. Put the jelly in as the next layer. Now top with fruits. Pour custard over. (It’s better if the custard is thick rather than runny…helps hold the trifle’s shape better). Now lightly top with whipped cream. Decorate with fruit slices/ sprinkles. Ready to serve!
Note: You can also make individual portions of trifle, much easier to serve!