Baking is easy.
Well, mostly. There are some things I definitely can’t bake – you may remember the disaster that was macarons. But cakes are mostly easy. Except for my nemesis:
The humble sponge cake.
It’s a classic, it’s supposed to be easy, and yet in the past all I’ve managed to bake are heavy, stodgy things that could be used as a door stop.
It’s a freaking sponge cake. It’s nothing special. It only has four ingredients in it and it frustrates me that I can’t make a good one.
I gave it another go recently. I made sure that I followed the instructions precisely – room temperature eggs, melted and cooled butter, triple sifted flour, and I whisked the eggs until they were super thick.
My sponge still turned out heavy. I must’ve knocked out too much air when I was mixing the flour in. Waaah.
I’m still determined to crack this thing. I know that if I can make it well just once, then I’ll be set for life.
- 80g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing
- 240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 8 eggs, at room temperature
- 220g caster sugar
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In an electric stand mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla bean seeds on med-high speed using a whisk attachment. Whisk until it’s thick, pale and tripled in volume. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
- While the egg mixture is whisking, prepare two 20cm cake tins by brushing them with melted butter, lining the bases with baking paper, and dusting the sides with flour.
- Sift the flour three times to get as much air in as possible and set aside.
- When the egg mixture is ready, sift a third of the flour over it. Gently fold the flour in with a large metal spoon until just combined.
- Repeat with another third of the flour, and then with the last third.
- Add a tablespoon of the egg mixture into the melted butter and mix together (this lightens the butter a bit so it doesn’t sink to the bottom).
- Add the butter mixture into the main cake mixture and gently fold in using the metal spoon until just combined.
- Divide evenly between the two tins and bake until lightly golden and the centre springs back when pressed lightly (about 20-25 minutes).
- Turn on to a wire rack and cool completely before sandwiching with cream and jam/fruit.