Recipe - Basic Sponge Cake

Recipe - Basic Sponge Cake


  • 3oz/75g soft butter
  • 3oz/75g soft margarine
  • 7oz/175g caster sugar
  • 8oz/200g plain flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs



Cream the margarine and butter together until they look like mayonnais.

Add the sugar a tableespoonful at a time beating it in after eacch addition - the mixture will get lighter in colour and become slightly fluffy.

Beat the vanilla essence into the mixture.

Whisk the eggs to blend the yolks and whites. Beat in the eggs a spoonful at a time.

Sift thee baking powder and flour together. Stir the flour into the mixture in three portions alternately with the hot water.

To Bake

Use an 8-inch loose bottomed cake tin (3 inch deep) or a 9-10inch oiled ring tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at gas mark 4/350F/180C.

Reduce the heat for a further to gas mark 3/325F/170C for 15 minutes if necessary.

To test whether done

Open oven gently and press the centre of cake with tip of finger (not to long or hard cos you'll braek the cake and burn yourself )

If it is ready the cake will spring back into shape immediately. If it is not done then the finger will leave a faint impression.

DO NOT keep opening the oven to check. If you open the oven door while it's cooking it will sink and turn into a big soggy biscuit.

When the cake is cooked

Remove it from the oven, leave it for 5 minutes. Remove it from the tin and let it cool on a wire rack.


Marble cake

Use half the mixture to start filling the tin dropping it in spoonfuls with gaps in-between to leave room for the chocolate half. With the second half of the cake mixture, add a level tablespoonful of cocoa and 4 level tablespoonfuls of drinking chocolate. Stir it all in until the mixture has a constant colour throughout. Drop this mixture into the gaps left in the cake tin. gently smooth over the top of the cake.

Sultana cake

Omit the vanilla essence and beat in the rind/zest of half a lemon. Put 200g/(1/2)Ib of sultanas in boiling water ffor 5 minutes. Then drain and dab dry with a tea-towwel. Stir into the cake with the flour.

Madiera cake

Cook in a 7-inch cake tin. Keep the recipe as in thee basic mixture. After half an hour cooking time, open the oven and lay a 3-inch long sliver of candied orange or lemon peel over the cake and close the oven door again

Other variations

This recipe works well if you want to improvise with other flavourings. I will put up ssome more cake reeccipes later. Make sure you keep the sugar.egg/fat content the same (baking cakes is jusst like chemistry - you need the right amount of certain basic ingredients)


If you don't want to ice these cakes then paint the top of cake with milk and scatter a thin layer of caster sugar. If people wish so, I can put up some icing/topping recipes up.