Master of Disguise Sponge Cake

April 12, 2013
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Pretty much anything that comes out of Nigel Slater's kitchen is destined for greatness, even his modest Victoria sponge cake, which intrigued me with its four ingredients. I didn't have self-rising flour or golden baker's sugar, so I made some substitutions, with wonderful results. Makes one 9" round cake, so double the recipe for a two-layer cake, or do what I did and cut two wedges, spread one wedge with jam and whipped cream, top with another wedge. Dust with powdered sugar. You'll feel like the Queen.

Eaten plain with a cup of tea, or gussied up with jam and cream or lemon curd (or all three!), or simply dressed with a shower of confectioner's sugar, this is one versatile cake and perfect for any occasion. This recipe is adapted from Mr. Slater's Victoria sponge with raspberries and custard sauce from his cookbook, Ripe.

One caveat: this is NOT a moist cake. It's meant to be dressed in a blanket of sweet, bursting, juicy berries, or a jammy fruit spread. And whipped cream. Always, whipped cream. —mrslarkin

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Whipped cream
  • Your favorite jam, or macerated berries, or lemon curd
  • Confectioner's sugar (optional)
  1. Set oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9' x 1 1/2" round cake pan and line with parchment.
  2. Whisk and aerate the flour, salt and baking powder together. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat into the butter/sugar mixture.
  4. Gently mix in the flour until just incorporated. Spoon batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool.
  5. Dress your cake any way you want. (see headnote)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Devangi Raval
    Devangi Raval
  • aargersi
  • mrslarkin
  • Mama Mac
    Mama Mac

9 Reviews

Mama M. July 6, 2013
Yes I did bake it again with the cheesecake batter on top the same way as using a graham cracker crust. As plainhomecook mentioned, it was slightly dry but that served the purpose quite well. When the cake was cut and plated the crust was perfect...not soggy at all!!! Will be making this again with the correct ingredients (butter) to see if the oil made any difference in the texture.
Mama M. July 5, 2013
Made this as a base for cheesecake on Fathers Day.I used a scant 1/2c. oil as I had neither butter or marg. in the house. Baked it +9 a 10" cheesecake pan lined with parchment paper. Itrimed the edges off to level it and used it as the crust without further adjustments.Baked up perfect with the cheesecake batter and was a hit at work with the guys
mrslarkin July 5, 2013
Very glad you liked it! so, wait, did you bake the sponge cake base first, and then poured in the cheesecake batter and baked again? what a genius idea!
plainhomecook May 6, 2013
This was drier than I would have liked it. Any insights into what I might have done wrong, or do differently next time?
mrslarkin May 6, 2013
Hi phc, I'm so glad you tried the sponge cake! Hope the following helps! Make sure you cream butter and sugar really well, for like a good 5 minutes. And beat the eggs in really well, too. Use a gentle hand when mixing in the flour - you want to retain all those air bubbles you just beat into the butter, sugar and eggs.

Sponge cake is definitely NOT a moist cake, and takes really well to jam fillings and even soaking with syrups, hence the "sponge" in its name.

If you're in search of a moister cake, try Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. It's one of my favorite birthday cakes of all time, and not dry at all.

Lastly, I always recommend getting an oven thermometer, to make sure your oven is accurate. Mine always runs cool, so I have to crank it up by about 50 degrees to get the temperature I need.

Hope this helps!
Devangi R. April 12, 2013
Easy and quick with a side of fruits would be so good..esp strawberries
mrslarkin April 12, 2013
aargersi April 12, 2013
Easy! Delicious! Adaptable! We need things to click (similar to the thumbs up) like a heart or a big PUFFY heart
mrslarkin April 12, 2013
Yes, all of those things! Thanks, a! <3