My Victorian Sponge ended up very dense and short, any recommendations on how to make lighter?

The recipe I used for Victorian Sponge tastes wonderful but is fairly dense and only became more so after a night in the fridge, recommendations on how to lighten and raise more?



mrslarkin July 18, 2013
Victoria sponge cake is inherently a light, dry cake, with lots of little air pockets, hence the "sponge" in the name. It's meant to be served with syrupy berries and cream, so the cake part can soak up all the yummy stuff.

Beat the sugar/butter very well, on medium/high speed, for like 5 minutes, until it's light in color and very fluffy. You want lots of air in there. Then beat in the eggs. Then gently fold in the flour, trying not to deflate all those great air bubbles you just worked hard to create.

My recipe for sponge is adapted from Nigel Slater's Victoria sponge cake.
London_Eats July 18, 2013

I have three tips:

(1) I suggest using self-raising flour, but also adding some baking powder for an extra boost. If you are using 225g of flour, use an additional 2 teaspoons baking powder.

(2) Do not over-beat the batter. Best to cream the butter until very soft and fluffy, then put everything else in and beat until JUST combined.

(3) Make sure the cake is not too deep - the best way it to make the cake in two (or more) pans, then arrange using jam afterwards, rather than making one big cake and slicing into layers.

I've made a Victoria Sponge recently, see the recipe here: - I've done this dozens of times this summer, and the recipe is pretty much foolproof.
boulangere July 18, 2013
A Victorian Sponge Cake is actually what we know fondly as a pound cake, hence it density. I don't think you've done a thing wrong. It will make a difference, though, as andrea lee suggests, if you begin with room temperature butter (I let mine sit out overnight, protected from the cats) as well as room temp eggs (I soak mine in warm, not hot, water for 10 minutes or so). Do beat the sugar and butter until nearly white in color, which tells you that you've incorprated lots of air, and add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. And there's no need to refrigerate the baked sponge. It sounds counterintuitive, but it will "stale" faster under refrigeration than at room temp. Incidentally, "sponge" is simply a generic term for any - literally any - sort of baked cake. What we've been taught to call a "sponge cake" is actually a chiffon cake, which is a separated egg cake, with the whites being whipped and folded in at the last - quite the opposite of a pound, or Victorial Sponge, cake.
boulangere July 18, 2013
I came across this interesting historical information from The Guardian (UK): The article references Nigella Lawson's cake to which she adds "corn flour", aka corn starch to reduce the amount of gluten in the batter, and which is consistent with her recipe in How to Eat, pp. 24-25.
ChefOno July 18, 2013

Sponge cake = foam, specifically egg foam. Air trapped within the foam creates the rise (as opposed to the creaming method andrea mentions above which relies on air trapped within the butter). Eggs should be at 70F, beaten well, other ingredients folded in delicately, batter handled gently and baked promptly. Did you bake in an ungreased tube pan? And cool upside down?

andrea L. July 17, 2013
That is strange. Not sure if this is much help but try mixing room temp butter with sugar first until fluffy, then add eggs, vanilla, lemon zest , salt and flour in that order so it doesn't get overworked. Could be the recipe too.
Camihenry July 17, 2013
Thanks, I'll try that but I may need to start looking for a another recipe despite how tasty this one is.
andrea L. July 17, 2013
Did you overwork the dough? What's in it? Egg whites?
Camihenry July 17, 2013
Whole eggs, vanilla, self-rising flour, salt, butter, sugar, and lemon zest. It was one of the densest batters I've ever seen which should have clued me in before it baked. It might have been overworked but it's a mix each item in one at a time type.
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