Megan, who has Sunday in the Kitchen recipes, asked for the sponge recipe I have using these last few weeks, and so here it is. It is from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion. Her recipe is for a five egg sponge but I did the maths and transformed it into a three egg sponge. I'll put both lists of ingredients and this is the time to use your digital scales. The five egg sponge is great for lamingtons made in a lamington tray (25 x 30 cm more or less), and is also great filled with jam or fruit or curd and cream and always dusted with icing sugar. This cake today was for the doctors and nurses at the Vet.
Three Egg Sponge Cake
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 90g plain flour, sifted 3 times
- 36g unsalted butter melted and cooled
Five Egg Sponge Cake
- 5 eggs at room temperature
- 165g caster sugar
- 150g plain flour, sifted three times
- 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
To fill the sponge:
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup jam or curd
- 300ml of thickened cream
- pure icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180*C. My oven is fan forced and I still cooked the sponge at this temperature, but you will know your oven best. Make sure you have melted the butter and it is cooling before you start .
Now prepare the tin. It is best not to use a non-stick cake tin, but I don't have one. Instead, I grease the whole tin with butter and line just the base with baking paper. Then add some plain flour to the tin and shake it around the edges as you rotate and then tip the excess out. This gives the sponge something to hang on to as it rises up the sides.
Whip the eggs and the sugar for 10 minutes. The mix should be thick and pale and creamy. If using 5 eggs, use your large bowl!!
Now prepare the flour. The flour should be sifted three times and then I like to sift it again when adding it to the egg and sugar mixture.To fold it in, use a metal spoon and scoop around the outer edge half way and then scoop upwards and across the top. The flour tends to hide at the bottom so you have to do the scooping up. Fold very gently and slowly, so as not to knock the air out of the batter mixture.
I add a big spoonful of the batter to the cooled butter, and mix it in before I add it back to the batter. You pour it gently down the side and then fold and mix gently again until it is incorporated. Spoon into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Do Not Open The Oven Door until 15 minutes have passed. Your sponge may sink. Mine took 20 minutes to cook.
You will know the sponge is cooked because it will have come away slightly from the sides of the tin, but mostly because when you press the centre top gently with your finger it will spring back. If it is not cooked it stays depressed. Cool the cake in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then on a rack until it is cold. This takes about half an hour.
If you want to fill your sponge, it will need to be cut in half. I run a serrated knife about 1cm into the outer edge of the cake, at the half way mark and then I do it again, gently sawing more deeply into the cake and rotating it as I go. At the very last I cut through. It doesn't really matter if it is a bit uneven. Flip the cake top over next to the base so that when you place it back on top it will match up. Handle the sponge gently but it is surprisingly resilient.
Finally, spread jam or curd over the base right to the edge and then really thickly whipped cream almost to the edge. Carefully replace the top of the cake and then dust generously with pure icing sugar using a sieve.
And there's the finished, filled sponge cake. It should really be eaten the day it is cooked and filled, but will probably be OK the next day. I brushed the inside of a sponge with a lemon sugar syrup before I filled it with curd and cream and refrigerated it over night and it was fine. It also makes good lamingtons the next day, in fact they are best made with day or two old sponge.