Baking Bothers: Perfect Sponge Cake

Q. My sponge cakes always end up like bricks. How do I make a light and airy sponge?

Lotte Duncan says: Patience. Don’t rush your cake. Take time and enjoy the process. Beating air into the cake mix at the various stages really is the best way to make your cake light and airy. There isn’t a short cut.

If, for example, you're making a victoria sponge – beat your butter and sugar well until pale and fluffy. If you're doing this by hand, it can take 5-10 minutes – obviously quicker if you do it with a hand mixer or cake mixer (don’t use a food processor). Next, make sure the eggs are beaten well and then mixed thoroughly into the cake mix.

Finally fold the flour in – don’t beat it in. If you do, you’ll knock all that precious air back out of your cake. If you over mix the flour it just works the gluten in it and makes your cake tough and heavy. Treat your cake with care and it’ll be light and airy!

Eric Lanlard says: The secret to a great sponge is the creaming of the butter and sugar. It is very important that you cream the butter and sugar until it the mixture becomes pale and fluffy (always use golden caster sugar) and then add the eggs slowly to the mixture – one at a time.

I am afraid it is all in the wrist action or the ‘mixer’ action if you own a stand mixer or electric hand whisk. It is important that all of the ingredients for the sponge are at room temperature.

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