The perfect all-in-one sponge
This is my fail safe recipe for whipping up a light and airy sponge that is perfect for birthday cakes and afternoon tea parties.
Its super easy and the spelt is a great alternative to plain white flour. It has much less gluten in it and it tastes wonderful. Spelt is a heritage grain and much easier to digest than some of the more modern varieties. Once you get the hang of the basic sponge you can then decorate the cake any way you like from the suggestions below depending on the season. I love having my basic recipes that can be adapted throughout the year, it takes the stress out of planning. This is my sons absolute favourite cake and the one he always requests when his birthday rolls around in the middle of summer.
*This cake can also be made with plain flour, just sub out the spelt and use same quantity of plain flour.
*To make it gluten free, use a gluten free flour blend and add 1 tsp anthem gum per cup of flour.
This mix can be baked in 2 sandwich tins or in one larger tin and cut in half after baking. Baking times vary depending on which method you use.
220g unsalted butter, well softened, but not melted
220g white spelt flour, sifted (or plain flour)
3 medium free-range eggs
2 tsp baking powder
125g coconut sugar
100g honey (or use 225g of plain organic sugar and leave out both honey and coconut sugar)
1 tsp vanilla powder
3 Tbsp whole milk
*To make this recipe lactose free, use ghee in place of butter and nut milk in place of whole milk for a lactose free cake.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C fan
Line 2x 20cm sandwich tins with butter and baking parchment or 1x 20cm loose bottom cake tin.
Place all the ingredients into a free standing mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes until thoroughly combined, smooth creamy and fluffy.
This should take about 5 to 6 minutes at most.
*If you don’t have a free standing mixer you can use hand held electric cake beaters on the low to medium setting but not on high.
If using sandwich tins, scrape the batter equally into both tins, flatten the mix with a pallet knife or the back of a spoon and pop into your preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden and spring back to the touch.
If using 1x 20cm loose bottom cake tin, scrape the entire batter into the tin and pop onto the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and the centre springs back to the touch. You can also test doneness by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean then the cake is ready.
When the cake/s are ready, take them out of the oven and set aside to cool for ten minutes before removing them from the tin/s and placing onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
*If you have baked the cake in one tin, this is the moment to cut it in half, once it has cooled and you are ready to ice the cake.
Seasonal decorating suggestions
*Spring- rhubarb, pomegranate and rose
You will need 1 to 2 cups of whipped cream, add 1 teaspoon of rose water to the cream when whipping.
Take 4 or 5 slender stalks of pink forced rhubarb, cut into 6 to7cm pieces, lay them in a single layer in a roasting dish just big enough to hold them, drizzle with 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup (or plain organic sugar) and a few tablespoons of water and cover. Heat the oven to 180C and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft but still holding their shape.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Lay your base cake layer on a serving platter, spoon over a generous amount of berry jam, then spoon over the rose water cream lastly spoon over the rhubarb and syrup. Top with the top layer of cake then scatter rose petals and or pomegranate jewels from half a pomegranate.
*Summer- summer berries and vanilla chia jam, with vanilla chantilly cream.
You will need 1 to 2 cups of whipped cream, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence to the cream when whipping and 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic sugar. You will also need a 4 to 5 Tbsp berry jam.
Lay your base cake layer onto a serving platter, spoon over the jam, then scoop and carefully spread out the cream, just covering the jam.
Lastly scatter over 150g of summer berries, Strawberries and raspberries, but any lovely fresh berries are a treat. Top with the second layer of cake, give a light dusting of unrefined icing sugar and a beautiful garden rose if you have one to hand.
*Autumn- roasted plums and spiced cream with hazelnuts
To make my autumn Roasted plum Victoria sponge cake, add 1/4 tsp of vanilla powder to the cream when whipping. Take 4 large red plums or 8 smaller plums, cut them in half and remove the pips, lay them cut side up in a single layer in a roasting try just big enough to hold them, place a small knob of butter or coconut oil into the centre of each plum, sprinkle with 4 teaspoons of coconut sugar or plain organic sugar or honey and roast at 180C for 15 minutes or until tender and sizzling and catching at the edges. Set aside to cool. Roast 80g hazelnuts in a 180C oven for 8 minutes, rub them in a napkin to remove the skins then chop roughly. Lay your base cake layer on a flat serving platter, generously spoon over the cream, then arrange the plums on top and drizzle over and juices and lastly scatter over the gloriously golden toasted hazelnuts. Top with the second cake layer and dust lightly with unrefined icing sugar.
*Winter- Honey Lemon curd with toasted almonds.
To make my winter lemon curd Victoria sponge you will need 1 to 2 cups of whipped cream, 1/2 cup of lemon curd and 80g toasted flaked almonds.
Lay the base cake layer onto a flat serving platter, spoon over the cream, then spoon over the lemon curd, then top with the toasted flaked almonds for a some wonderful crunch. Lastly stop with the second layer of sponge and dust lightly with unrefined icing sugar.