I’ve been meaning to make a sponge cake for ages but I find I avoid them having not had the best luck with them in the past. Plus I always worry they don’t rise enough but the time had come for me to give it another try! I can say now having made it and eaten it (some of it, I didn’t eat all of it myself!) I’m glad I did it. This is a Mary Berry recipe from BBC Food
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 225g / 8oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 225g / 8oz self-raising flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 225g / 8oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 200g / 7oz raspberries
- 250g / 9oz jam sugar
- 100g / 3½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 200g / 7oz icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp milk
Firstly I will own up – I didn’t make my own jam. Call it cheating but I had a jar in the cupboard so why not!
Start by greasing and lining two 20cm / 8in baking tins and preheat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan / Gas 4.
The good thing about Mary Berry recipes is that invariably she goes for the all in one method with her cakes. So, put the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and soft butter into a large bowl and mix together until just combined. Make sure you don’t overmix – you should stop as soon as everything is blended.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between your prepared tins and try and smooth the top as best as you can. Put the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Like I said, I didn’t make my own jam but you should do this step while the cakes are cooking. For info, the method is as follows. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container. Leave to cool and set.
When your cakes are golden brown and spring back when touched, they are ready. They should also be coming away from the sides of the tin. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then, turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft then add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick – I found I added a little extra milk on top of the suggested amount to make sure it was the right consistency for piping. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
Spread one half with the jam then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam. It might seem like a pain to do this but its definitely worth it – I bought some disposable piping bags so I just throw them away once used to save on trying to wash them up! Place the other sponge on top and sprinkle with icing sugar to serve – Mary suggested caster sugar.
I was really happy with my cake – ok so my piping could do with some work(!) but I managed to get the mixture just right as it was lovely and light and not overcooked. Our oven never seems to cook evenly and is hotter on one side so I am always worried about it but I had some luck on this day! The amount of buttercream was great – not sickly at all as can be the case.