How to Make Sponge Cakes: Recipes for Victoria, Chocolate, Lemon, Orange and Honey Sponges

A sponge cake is one of the lightest and most delicate cakes of all. It is the amount of air beaten into the eggs and sugar and held in the mixture that makes the cake rise and, fortunately for those who enjoy it, a sponge cake is relatively quick and easy to make.

There are two ways of making a sponge cake and many different ways of presenting it. A whisked sponge is made by beating the whole eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick and light, and then folding in the flour. For a sponge sandwich, the eggs are separated and the whites beaten until thick, with the sugar added gradually; then the yolks are added and the flour folded in. This method is also highly recommended if you don't have an electric mixer (see more on this below). In the following recipes for Victoria, chocolate, lemon, orange and honey sponge cakes both methods are used.

Basic Rules for Making Sponge Cakes

There are a few basic rules that must be followed when making a sponge cake but, once you master them, you will be able to whip up a tender sponge cake for afternoon tea or dessert without a moment's thought. Remember:

  • Eggs for a sponge should be at least three days old and should be at room temperature to give the greatest volume.
  • Have the oven ready, tins (pans) prepared and all ingredients assembled and measured before you begin to mix. Once you begin, don't leave the mixture standing or the air that you have beaten in will start to escape and your sponge won't rise to its expected heights!
  • Close the oven door gently when you put the cake in, and don't open it until two-thirds of the way through the cooking time.
  • Test cakes after minimum cooking time by touching in the center with a finger. When done, they should be springy, elastic to the touch and shrinking slightly from sides of tin (pan).

Cake Tins

Some champion sponge-makers prefer to use cake tins (pans) rather than sandwich pans for cooking sponges. They claim that the cakes rise higher and, since the top is protected from the oven heat by the higher sides of the pan, the top of the sponge is softer than when cooked in a sandwich pan and more lightly golden in color.

When You Have No Electric Mixer

If you have an electric mixer, beating the eggs and sugar together is no trouble, but hand beating with a whisk or rotary beater to dissolve the sugar completely and bring the mixture to the correct thick, creamy consistency can be a long and arduous job.

A quick and easy shortcut when beating by hand is to separate the eggs first.

Beat the whites until soft peaks form, then add the sugar gradually, beating well after each addition to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the egg yolks, beating lightly until they are combined with the egg white mixture, then continue with the recipe by folding in sifted flour.

Victoria Sponge Cake
Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces (185 g) butter
  • ¾ cup caster (fine granulated) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Few drops vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted

For the Filling and to Finish:

  • ¼ cup raspberry/strawberry jam
  • ¼ pint (150 ml) double (heavy) cream, whipped
  • Icing (confectioners') sugar

To Make

  1. Grease two 7 inch (18 cm) sandwich tins (pans). Do this by brushing lightly with melted butter then, with tips of fingers, smooth over the butter coating and dredge lightly with a little flour. This smoothing helps cakes turn out well.
  2. Set the oven at moderate (350° F/180° C). Set the shelf just above the center of the oven.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream them together for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. Lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla essence. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a little of the sifted flour with the last addition of egg.
  5. Using a metal spoon, fold in the remaining flour lightly and evenly.
  6. Pour or spoon the mixture into prepared sandwich tins (pans) and tilt them to spread it out evenly.
  7. Place the tins (pans) on the same oven shelf to ensure that the cakes will have constant heat and bake evenly. Make sure that the tins (pans) do not touch each other; it may be necessary to place one towards the back and one towards the front if the oven is a small one.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn the cakes out immediately on to a tea towel placed on top of a wire rack; the tea towel prevents the wire rack marking top of sponges; immediately turn right side up on to another wire rack; cool away from draughts to avoid shrinking.
  9. When cold, sandwich the sponges together with jam of choice and fresh cream. Top with a dusting of icing (confectioners') sugar.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Omit the vanilla essence and add 3 level tablespoons of cocoa to the 1 ½ cups of flour in the Victoria Sponge Cake mixture. Make the cake following the instructions in the recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake and sandwich the sponges together with fresh whipped cream. Top with a dusting of icing (confectioners') sugar or a mixture of icing (confectioners') sugar combined with a little cocoa.

Lemon Sponge Cake
Lemon Sponge Cake

Lemon or Orange Sponge Cake

In addition to the ingredients for a Victoria Sponge Cake you will need:

  • Grated rind of 1 ½ lemons or oranges
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 2/3 cups icing (confectioners') sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice
  • Few strips angelica

To Make

  1. Make the cake following the instructions in the recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake but adding the lemon or orange rind to the sugar and butter mixture at the time you add the beaten eggs.
  2. Place the margarine in a basin and gradually beat in the icing (confectioners') sugar. Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and light. Add the lemon or orange juice and mix to a soft spreading consistency.
  3. Use a little of the lemon or orange cream to sandwich the two cake halves. Spread more over the top and decorate with parallel ridges made by moving a round-tipped knife over the cream. Fill a piping (decorator's) bag fitted with a star nozzle with the remaining lemon or orange cream and pipe swirls around the rim. Decorate with angelica 'leaves'.

Honey Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup caster (fine granulated) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup self-raising flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ ounce (15 g) butter
  • 3 dessertspoons hot milk

For the Filling and to Finish:

  • ¼ pint (150 ml) double (heavy) cream, whipped
  • Icing (confectioners') sugar

To Make

  1. Grease two 7 inch (18 cm) sandwich tins (pans) and dredge lightly with a little flour (see above).
  2. Set the oven at moderate (350° F/180° C). Set the shelf just above the center of the oven.
  3. Separate eggs. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add vanilla essence and egg yolks, beat again.
  5. Sift dry ingredients together several times and fold gently into egg mixture.
  6. Add butter and honey, which have been melted in the hot milk.
  7. Pour or spoon the mixture into prepared sandwich tins (pans) and tilt them to spread it out evenly.
  8. Place the tins (pans) on the same oven shelf to ensure that the cakes will have constant heat and bake evenly. Make sure that the tins (pans) do not touch each other.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn the cakes out on a wire rack, top side up, to cool.
  10. When cold, sandwich the sponges together with whipped cream. Top with a dusting of icing (confectioners') sugar.

Photo Credits

Photo of Victoria Sponge Cake by Vintage Amethyst.

Photo of Lemon Sponge Cake by The Good Cook.

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Comments 8 comments

chicamom85 profile image

chicamom85 7 years ago

Wonderful recipes, we all love sponge cake at my house!


The Good Cook profile image

The Good Cook 7 years ago Author

We do too. Thanks for reading.


Katisha  7 years ago

I love spongecakes they are delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

I have been searching Hub pages for cake recipes. Most of the Hubs are about decorating rather than actually making cakes. I shall give yours a try.


hc 6 years ago

can i substitute with plain flour?


Manju 5 years ago

wow, nice read

thanks for up:)


Melanie Fourie profile image

Melanie Fourie 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks for this :-) Looks absolutely mouth watering. Have a great week!


The Good Cook profile image

The Good Cook 5 years ago Author

Yes hc you can substitute plain flour but you will need to add 2 teaspoons of baking powder for every cup of plain flour used and sift them together well.

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