Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Mum's easy sponge cake - big traybake

This recipe is so flexible, it can be scaled up or scaled down as needed to make cupcakes, muffins or sandwich cakes, but this quantity will make a good sized traybake..

6 free range eggs
375g/13oz self raising flour (I use Allinson's Nature Friendly and it reliably makes good cake)
375g/13oz granulated sugar (I usually use Silver Spoon)

As a tray bake, iced with sprinkles
375g/13oz soft butter or margerine (I prefer butter)

you will need:
a large oblong baking tin or roasting pan
an electric whisk
greaseproof paper

makes 12 big portions of traybake

Line the cake tin or roasting pan with greaseproof paper. 

Preheat your oven to about 150 C, or 160 C for cupcakes/muffins (I used to use about gas mark 6 in my gas oven). 

Before you do anything else, weigh the eggs in their shells.

As traybake squares
Then weigh out the same quantity of self-raising flour, butter and sugar - the amounts above are a guide.

I know it sounds over the top, but it's how my mum taught me and whenever I stick to this method, I get good cake.  It's easy to do and it does make a difference.  Eggs can vary hugely in weight, but if you weigh them, the quantities will always be in the correct proportion.

I didn't used to bother mixing the ingredients in a certain order, but after some experimentation, this is the method that I find reliably results in yummy cake:-

In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until the mixture looks fluffy and almost white. 

Next, add the eggs one by one, whisking as you go.  Just a tip: mum always taught me to
As cupcakes, iced
crack the eggs into a cup before pouring it into the mixture - this way if one of the eggs is bad, you don't waste the other ingredients.  I didn't do this once, and I ended up throwing out a 6 egg batter. 

At this stage, add any flavours you want - some of my faves are a bit of good vanilla essence, two teaspoons of dried ginger or a few tablespoons of cocoa powder.

I don't bother sieving flour, but if you want to, go ahead.  Flour these days is generally of a good and consistent quality and doesn't tend to contain stones and chaff!  Generally speaking I don't .

This is the stage to fold in any chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruits.  If you are adding dried fruit, mix it into the flour first.  It seems to stop it sinking to the bottom quite so much.

As a Vicky Sponge, with buttercream and jam
Finally, take a spoon - preferably a nice big metal spoon (I have one from my grandma that I like to use) and fold in the flour.  

I find that the folding method of scooping the mix and spooning it over the flour in a sweeping circular motion keeps all the air in the mixture and makes for a cake which is light as well as rich. 

Pour/scrape your mixture, which should be nice and thick, into the paper lined tray, and put onto the middle shelf of the oven, where you can see it.  Depending on the type of tin you use, the cake will take between 20 and 40 minutes (or up to 60 minutes in a deep, round tin, by which time the cake will be drying out - for round tins, a 4 egg mix is better; 10-12 mins for cupcakes and 15 mins for muffins).

If the cake starts to brown on top but is still very runny underneath, turn the oven down by
As breakfast muffins, wholemeal with honey, lemon & pumpkin seeds
10 degrees C.  The cake will increase in volume and will be thicker in the middle than at the edges, and is done when a toothpick or thin knife comes out clean when poked right through the cake.  If you test your cake and it is not done, never slam the oven door, always close gently.  Slamming makes your cake collapse and undoes all your hard work!

Once cooked, this cake can be enjoyed hot with custard, or cooled, with or without icing.  If kept in a tin, it should stay nice for up to a week.

Enjoy with coffee, tea, hot chocolate - or just in your pyjamas in the dark at 4am with a naughty grin on your face, because frankly who wants to wait till breakfast time.

H xxx


  1. This is how I do it, Emilys mum told me the same way. I use the whisk until the butter and sugar are almost meringue texture and I use the whisk for the flour too, but I have a lot more experimenting to do before I have perfected it. I am excited about getting back in the kitchen and trying all new things...and now I want to add ginger! I love ginger bakes x

    1. It is lovely with ginger Em -
      my mum used to drizzle a little honey on when freshly baked and serve warm, sometimes with custard which complemented the ginger flavour beautifully. I stopped whisking in the flour about 2 years ago, to see if I could tell the difference in folding it in, and suddenly got a lot more compliments on my baking and how light and fluffy my cakes were. Then again mum always whisked it all and her cakes are stunning. I love this recipe, it's one of the first things I learned to bake :) xxx

  2. Thanks so much for going into such detail with the ingredients and making of this delightful looking sponge, Hazel, you've done a great job, and I must give this one a go sometime soon. I have a few recipe books where the author is adamant that eggs should be weighed, and I agree, it does make such a difference.
    I am gluten-free so act accordingly with recipes and these days the flours are much better so usually the results are very good when making changes to recipes!
    I hope your week is going well! Joy xo

    1. I am having a great week thanks Joy! Hope your week is also going well. I agree, I really think proportions are so important to cake baking. I have a nice gluten free recipe using ground almonds - are you able to eat almonds at all? If so I will type it up for you if you like? It's one I have tweaked/developed because a few good friends have coeliac's - I'd be more than happy to share! It's a bit richer than a classic sponge, but still quite light. Just let me know :) xx

    2. Oh yes, if you don't mind doing that I would be very happy to have the recipe Hazel, thanks so much! No rush, just when you have time!
      Hugs, Joy xo

    3. Just posted Joy! Thanks for commenting, I was in dire need of some inspiration for my blog tonight... :) x

  3. How outstanding is this! I love recipes that can be used for different things and this is just awesome! It looks so delicious in every form! I will have to give it a go! Thank you for sharing lady and I hope you are having a great week! Nicole xo

    1. Glad you enjoyed :) hope you enjoy testing the recipe as well! Don't be shy about adding any flavours you love, it is a very forgiving recipe. It's really good with buttercream if you like that :) hope you are having a wonderful week too. I am just loving all the sunshine we're having! Xxx