A recipe for foolproof Sponge so light, so fluffy you won’t believe you made it at home and it’s paired with homemade strawberry jam and mascarpone cream
Delicious Sponge that anyone can make!
I can promise you will love this recipe. It would be very hard for you to mess this one up. Well not just you, anyone.
I gave this to a class of 20 beginners who all made this perfectly the first time. Can you believe that some students were so excited they made it again when they got home, and were successful again.
What is the secret to making a sponge?
There are a couple of important steps. Let me take you through them.
You will most definitely need a mixer of some sort. It can be a stand mixer or a handheld mixer. It doesn’t matter just something electric!
- Weigh the ingredients. Always weigh. A sponge is a perfect balance of eggs, sugar, and dry ingredients. Sometimes they contain fat (butter, eggs, or oil). The fat in this recipe comes from the yolks
- Preheat the oven
- When making cakes and sponges, aways prepare the cake tins before starting
- Stick to the ingredients advised the first time you make a recipe and always if you don’t know how an ingredient affects a recipe.
What do I need to make this sponge?
- Plain flour, everyday medium protein flour
- Cornflour, light airy gluten free “cornstarch”
- baking powder for a little extra lift
- caster sugar, fine ground white granulated sugar or superfine sugar
- Whole eggs, eggs should be at room temperature for best volume. If you forget to get your eggs out of the fridge to come to room temperature here what to do. Fill a bowl with warm water and sit the eggs in this for 5 to 10 minutes
- cream of tartar
What makes this sponge so good?
Well, it’s all in the balance.
This recipe calls for plain flour mixed with cornflour. Cornflour is gluten-free and very light. This combines with the plain flour (that does have gluten) and creates a symbiotic mixture. It’s a light but supportive base for the eggs and sugar that has just the right amount of gluten for strength and soft flour for pillowy softness.
Sponges are all about air and eggs and sugar create that air. The flour is added just to bind those eggs and sugars together. That means good eggs are important. I always use free range eggs that are extra-large.
The eggs I use amount to a total weight once cracked of 50 gm. That’s 30 gm of egg white and around 20 gm for the yolk give or take a couple of grams. This makes a difference to how your cakes will turn out. Some recipes just call for “eggs”. If your eggs are much smaller than mine you may need to add another. It is important that you have the correct ratio of eggs to the other ingredients.
Whats the secret to the best sponge
This brings us to the secret to the success of this sponge. The eggs are separated and the whites beaten into almost a meringue like mixture. This makes a very strong airy base before the yolks are added and the flour is folded through ever so gently.
That brings me to the flour. Flours should always be well combined by whisking together and then sifted at least twice. This aerates it, gets rid of any stray bits, and ensures it is well mixed.
- Eggwhites are mostly water and after whipping, the water can begin to leak back out of them. This looks a bit like washing up water with the foam on top and a pool of water beneath.
A simple way to fix this is by adding a small amount of cream of tartar when whipping. This addition of acid binds the proteins and water together making a thick and strong base and makes a more stable meringue. After this, the next most important chemical reaction in your meringue base is the addition of sugar.
Sugar also helps to stabilise egg whites, holding them together. Have you ever whipped up egg whites and they have separated and look like scrambled eggs? Sugar will prevent this from happening.
When do I add the sugar?
Sugar must be added gradually to this type of meringue. If the sugar is added too fast it will knock the air out of the meringue.
Thick and heavy meringue will take some time to regain it’s air and it will, but never fully. The resulting meringue is heavy and a bit runny too.
2. My Foolproof sponge cake also has baking powder. Not all sponges have this addition. For this mixture, it’s the secret chemical reaction that gives the sponge a double rise.
The shiny thick meringue in the picture below demonstrates how the egg yolks look when they are being added.
This sponge needs a perfect filling
For me a soft and pillowy bed of sponge is perfect for a creamy jam filling. This jam is very fruity and not too sweet. It is a little unconvetional for jam
Jam is usually cooked down with equal weights of sugar and fruit and is cooked down for some time. This mixture has less sugar and is thickened with a little cornflour to make a really strawberry flavoured “filling” jam.
All of the ingredients for the mascarpone cream filling are whisked together. Don’t be shy with the vanilla here as it really makes all the difference to the taste.
Remember to never over whisk mascarpone or cream for that matter. You will not over whisk the cream if you stop mixing a little bit before you think it is ready. It’s better to finish it, whisking by hand if it needs more stirring. You know how butter is made right? You need nice firm peaks not butter.
Please don’t think you have to pipe your cream onto this cake. Its a great way to add the cream without the cream layer mixing with the jam layer.
If you want to make this recipe in a smaller cake tin you can! It will make two taller layers that you can cut in half to have a 4 layer sponge cake. If this is for you , you will need a 16 cm or 6.5 inch tin. Twice as delicious don’t you think?
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Sponge cake with mascarpone cream and strawberry jam
- 75 gm plain flour 1/2 cup / 2.65oz
- 75 gm cornflour 1/2 cup, 2.65 oz
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 165 gm caster sugar 3/4 cup +1 Tablespoon, 5.8oz
- 4 eggs, separated large eggs weighing 50 gm / 1.75 oz
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
Strawberry Jam Filling
- 250 gm frozen strawberries 8.8 oz
- 150 gm caster sugar 3/4 cup, 5.3 oz
- 30 gm cornflour 2 Tablespoons, 1.05oz
- 20 ml water 1 Tablespoon, 0.7oz
Mascarpone cream filling
- 150 ml thickened cream 1/2 cup +1Tblsp (large)
- 200 gm mascarpone 7 oz
- 20 gm icing sugar 1 Tablespoon , up to 1oz
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 20 gm icing sugar extra for sprinkling approximately 1 oz or 1 tablespoon
Method for Sponge
- Preheat the oven to 170C / 340F. Line a 2 x 20 cm or 8 inch tins with parchment paper bottom and sides. You will need either a handheld or a stand mixer for this recipe
- Sieve the flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder together and mix well
- Use a mixer for the next step. Make sure the bowl and whisks are very clean. Add the egg whites (4 x 30 gm = 120 gm) and whisk on a high speed until the whites have started to become white and frothy and are just starting to become soft peak. Gradually add the sugar in 3 to 4 additions. The whites will be stiff peaked shiny.
- Once the whites are nice and shiny, add the yolks (20 gm x 4= 80 gm approx) one at a time until the 4 have been incorporated. The mixture will be very creamy thick and pale.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Sift 1/3 of the flour onto the egg mixture and use a spatula fold through, continuing until all the flour is incorporated. Mix ONLY until just mixed in. Do not overmix.
- Decant into the two cake tins and flatten the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when touched in the centre. When cooked sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge to loosen then turning out.
Method for Strawberry jam filling
- Put the frozen strawberries into a pot with the sugar. Turn onto a low heat.
- Put the cornflour and water into a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk the strawberry mixture until boiling. This will break up the strawberries a little so there aren't very large lumps
- Take off the heat and whisk in the cornflour. Put back on to the heat and whisk again until boiling. Pour into a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and set aside.
Method for mascarpone whipped cream
- Put the cream and the mascarpone with the vanilla and sugar into the bowl of a planetary mixer. Using the whisk attachment whip the cream mixture until it has “firm peaks”. Don't over whisk it will separate. Just until a pipable consistency. Set aside in a bowl in the fridge covered until needed. Before using put into a piping bag with a star nozzle
Putting the sponge cake together
- Lay the sponges bottoms up on flat surface or cake plate. Spread one side of the cake with a layer of jam. You will not need to use all of the jam. Too much jam will cause the cream to slide off . Put the cream into a piping bag with a fluted tube. Pipe the cream onto the base. Put the top onto the filled base. Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar