Posted in Tips & Tricks

Sponge Cake Woes

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Candles blown out signifies another birthday over. And a traditional Victoria Sponge is a classic. Grease two 20cm round cake tins. Beat 200g/8oz sugar and butter until pale. Add a teaspoon of baking powder to 200g/8oz self-raising flour, gradually fold into the butter and sugar along with 4 eggs. If the mixture feels a bit stiff add 2tbsp milk to loosen batter. Split between the cake tins and bake at 190C/fan 170C/gas mark 5 for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown and the cake springs back when touched. For the butter cream filling beat 100g/4oz room temperature butter, gradually add 150g/6oz of icing sugar and an optional drop of vanilla extract. Spread the butter cream onto one half of the cooled cakes and half a jar of strawberry jam onto the other, and sandwich together. Dust with icing sugar. Voila!

Baking sponge cakes is reletively simple, but there are a few mistakes that can steal perfection from the final product. Below are a few common sponge problems and the solution.

BurntBurnt cake tastes terrible, but it can be salvaged. Simply cut away the burnt edges using a srrated knife, and smother with frosting.
Cake Mixture Overflowing Use the correct size tin for the cake, and fill your tins a maximum of two-thirds full.
Cracked TopIf the cake rises too quickly it will crack. Check the oven temperature using a thermometer. Too much raising agent will also cause the cake to crack. Decorating the cake will cover any imperfections.
Crunchy EdgesGrease the cake tin with minimal fat, otherwise as it melts it effectively frys the sponge.
DryAccuracy is essential. Use the correct size eggs and measure liquids. To much dry ingredients will absorb moisture. Check your oven is not too hot, and don’t leave in the oven too long.
Didn’t RiseAdd raising agents and check they are not out-of-date. Not baking long enough can be the reason cake hasn’t risen, pop back in the oven for a couple of minutes. If the tin is too big the sponge will spread thinly, giving the appearance it hasn’t risen
Split MixtureStop creaming butter and sugar when they begin to look curdled and add dry ingredients.
Stuck to the TinUse greaseproof paper cut to size in the base of the tin. Allow cake to cool thoroughly before attempting to remove from tin. Run a knife round the edge of the tin to loosen cake.
Sunken MixtureThe cake will sink if the batter is still raw in the middle. Add to oven for a few more minutes and insert a skewer, if it comes out clean cake is cooked. Check oven temperature is not too cool. Raising agent problems can be responsible for sunken cakes. Sunken cakes can be covered with frosting.
Tastes BadToo much raising agent will leave a bitter tase. Certain cake recipes require a lot of egg, disguise the egg taste with flavourings, for example vanilla extract.
Too HeavyNot enough raising agent can leave sponge heavy. Mixing at every stage is important, incorporating air in the batter.
UndercookedCalibrate oven correctly using a thermometer, ensuring it is not too cool.


A professional and creative writing graduate and proofreader. Hobbies include: reading, writing, walking, cycling, theatre, cooking, baking, arts, crafts and culture. An avid volunteer within the arts sector and supporter of improving mental health. Favourite quote: creativity is contagious passion. (Einstein)

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