Basic Sponge Cake Mix

Sponge Cake 19.09.09I call this a 4, 4, 4, 2 because it has 4oz each of butter, flour, sugar and 2 eggs (all storecupboard ingredients).  It also sounds pleasantly like it might be the wheel array on a steam engine.  This useful pneumonic, however, fails to work with metric weights, but then so much about metric fails to work for me, but let’s discuss it no further or I will (in modern parlance) ‘go off on one’, and we wouldn’t want that.

The humble sponge is so terribly versatile. One can obviously use it to whip up a super-fast cake, but it can be used for a variety of puddings at short notice.  The quantity can be adjusted with the simplest of sums (2 2 2 1, 8 8 8 4 etc) depending on how much you need.

The important things to remember about sponges is that to make them light in texture you have to beat the butter and sugar together for AT LEAST 5 minutes with an electric whisk or 10 minutes by hand.  The butter and sugar mixture has to become nearly white in colour before it’s ready to add the eggs.  Then when you add the eggs, I always add a spoonful of flour at the same time to stop the mixture curdling.

NB. I would be very grateful if any members of the Women’s Institute who are reading this would refrain from pointing out that a true Victoria Sponge does not have buttercream in it.  I don’t care.  I just like cake.


4oz / 120g butter
4oz / 120g white sugar
4oz / 120g white self raising flour
2 eggs
1 tablspn milk

Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Beat the butter and sugar together until it is pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes and prefereably more with an electric mixer)
Beat in the eggs and one tablspn flour
Beat in the flour
Beat in the milk
Apply the mixture to whatever you’re making


1 x medium sized mixing bowl
1 x electric food mixer
1 x rubber scraper (not essential but it means you can lick the bowl really thoroughly)
2 x 7″ round cake tins (loose bottomed are much, much easier)
1 x wire cooling rack

6, 6, 6, 3 sponge mixture

3oz / 90g butter
3oz / 90g icing sugar (approx, you may like a little more – taste it and see)
1 tblspn white flour
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Raspberry jam (or whatever type of jam you like)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Grease and flour the cake tins
Make the cake mixture as for Basic Sponge
Divide the mixture equally between the tins
Bake for approximately 20 minutes – if you’re not sure if it’s cooked, poke a skewer or a small thin knife into the middle – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked.  If any mixture clings to it, give it another 5 minutes and try again.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes
Remove from the tins and place on the wire cooling rack.
Then make the filling by beating the butter, icing sugar, flour, milk and vanilla together in a bowl.
When the cake is completely cool, spread as much jam as you like on the top of one of the cakes
Then spread the buttercream on top of the jam.
Put the other cake on top and sprinkle with a little icing sugar to make it look attractive
Put the kettle on.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake 


Grease a pudding bowl.
Arrange a tin of pineapple rings attractively round the bottom.
Place glace cherries in the middle of the rings
Sprinkle with brown sugar
Spoon a 4 4 4 2 sponge mixture on top
Bake as above.
Serve with custard

Sticky Dicky
Grease a pudding bowl
Put 2 brimming tablespoons of golden syrup into the bowl
Mix 4 oz raisins and a pinch of nutmeg into a 4 4 4 2 sponge mixture
Spoon into the bowl on top of the syrup
Bake as for a sponge cake
Serve with custard


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100 Responses to Basic Sponge Cake Mix

  1. wartimehousewife February 14, 2013 at 16:47 #

    Thank you Frank, much appreciated – spread the word old chap. I’ve got a book coming out in early summer so the more people know about me the better!

    You certainly can melt the butter first and then beat in the sugar, just make sure that it has returned to a fluffy solidity before adding the eggs or it will be too heavy. It’s the beating of the butter that determines the lightness.

    My rubber seals are less than adequate as well so I recognise the problem and feel your pain. In fact, I think you may have spurred me on to mend them.

    There are lots of good, simple recipes on this site so do give them a try as well and I’m always happy to advise if you have any problems. Love your gravatar by the way!

  2. Gemma Jamal March 2, 2013 at 16:08 #

    hi id just like to say THANKYOU!! your recipe is fantastic. ive never made a cake in my life untill a few days ago. i found your recipe n followed it and my cake is fab my partner didnt quite believe that i had made it. i made another lastnight and once agsin best cake ive ever tasted n not just saying that as its me that made it. im going to be brave and make my daughters birthday cake.

  3. Janine March 3, 2013 at 13:28 #

    I love this recipe it is the best one I have found. I was just wondering if I wanted to make a chocolate sponge what quantity of cocoa will I put in if I’m using 8,8,8,4 ratio x

  4. wartimehousewife March 3, 2013 at 13:30 #

    Welcome Gemma: I’m so glad it went well for you and well done you. Do let me know how your daughter’s birthday cake goes. I have lots of easy recipes on this site so why not try a few more?

  5. wartimehousewife March 3, 2013 at 13:33 #

    Welcome Janine. I would suggest no more than 2oz / 60g but have a look at this recipe for a rich chocolate cake, it’s an absolute corker! And if you’re using it for a birthday cake it stays moist for ages and is firm enough to make icing easy.

  6. Danielle April 10, 2013 at 18:55 #

    This is yummy!!! Thank you 

  7. melissa wong April 11, 2013 at 06:57 #

    i love your simple receipe.for the basic simple sponge .you did not mention how long do i have to beat the eggs flour and the milk. i have try number of receipe on sponge mix. always it turn up to be very compact not spongy.and the cake did not rise up much

  8. wartimehousewife April 11, 2013 at 23:12 #

    Welcome Melissa. The most important bit is the beating of the butter and sugar which should be done until it is much lighter in colour and very fluffy. This is what makes your cake light. The eggs flour and milk should be mixed in more gently to get them mixed well and allow more air in. Let me know how you get on.

  9. oretop June 4, 2013 at 12:39 #

    Av tried ur 44442 cake mix n it came out fyn.pls am using a size 10 round pan and 4inches deep.‎​wht measurement shuld I use

  10. wartimehousewife June 4, 2013 at 21:39 #

    Welcome Oretop and I’m glad your cake turned out well. I would double the mixture at least to an 8884. If you are make a sandwich cake in two tins or a big cake for a lot of people or for a celebration cake I would even go so far as to make a 10 10 10 5. Go for it and let us know how you get on.

  11. Steve Hoyland July 5, 2013 at 15:45 #


    Your recipe worked perfectly and Is very much appreciated. However,I was rather puzzled with your use of the word “PNEUMONIC”, which means ‘of the lungs’, as In Pneumonic plague! I think the word you’re looking for Is “MNEMONIC” which Is something that aids In memory retention. I hope this Is of some help as I’m not critisizing your lovely recipes! Thank you. (Mr. Steve Hoyland)

  12. wartimehousewife July 7, 2013 at 20:34 #

    Hi Steve. Thanks for your feedback and I’m glad the recipe worked well. Do you know, in all the time I’ve had that post up (years!) I have never noticed my mistake. You’re absolutely right and I apologise for my mental abberration and I certainly don’t wish a plague upon my readers! I’m going to leave it though so that your comment makes sense… I think it’s because I often mispronounce the word by accident so my nether brain took over. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! Hope you keep reading.

  13. June October 15, 2013 at 18:05 #

    wow this is realy helpfull

  14. meg November 2, 2013 at 23:50 #

    how long are you suppost to cook it for ???

  15. wartimehousewife November 4, 2013 at 13:03 #

    Hello Meg. 20 minutes plus a little more if it needs it.

  16. Keeley January 30, 2014 at 20:42 #

    Found this recipe after 3 failed attempts of cake from other sites and this one has turned out perfection. So hallelujah for coming across this site.

  17. wartimehousewife January 30, 2014 at 21:26 #

    Welcome Keeley. I’m so glad the recipe worked well for you. There are lots of other easy and nourishing recipes on my site, do give them a go.

  18. daisy February 4, 2014 at 15:25 #

    i made this cake for my mums birthday i’m 10 years old and i am always baking my mum said it was delicious thank you so much turned out great

  19. wartimehousewife February 4, 2014 at 17:49 #

    Dear Daisy. Well done you and what a lovely treat for your mum’s birthday, I hope she had a lovely day. Cooking is such fun and the more you do it the the more fun it gets. Start to experiment with different ingredients and see how they work together. If you search on the site for Rich Chocolate Cake, the recipe is the stickiest and scrummiest chocolate cake you will ever eat and, because it’s quite a firm texture, it’s great for decorating. Keep up the good work.

  20. Dave February 8, 2014 at 14:25 #

    When you say beat in the eggs and flour do you use an electric whisk or should this be done by hand?

  21. wartimehousewife February 11, 2014 at 13:41 #

    Dave: So sorry to come back to you so late but I was ill and then went away for the weekend. I do all of it with an electric whisk. If you choose to do it by hand, it will take longer and you will have to fold the flour into the mixture with a metal spoon to get the air in.

  22. Emma Knight February 12, 2014 at 21:18 #

    Could I use this recipe for 24 cupcakes?

  23. wartimehousewife February 12, 2014 at 21:46 #

    It would probably do 12, Emma, so I would increase the quantities depending on the size you want.

  24. Daniel February 14, 2014 at 12:05 #

    Hey, thank you so so much for this recipe!! I’ve made cakes befpre but none have ever tasted as good! Made my partner one a week or so ago and she loved it! And today I am making a heart shaped sponge covered with fondant for her for valentines day! Amazing recipe, thank you again!!


  25. wartimehousewife February 14, 2014 at 19:04 #

    Welcome Daniel. I’m so pleased the recipe turned out well for you and what a lovely romantic thing to make a heart cake; Brownie points all round I think. Now you can try some of the other recipes on my site…. and let me know how you get on!

  26. sarah March 3, 2014 at 14:08 #

    hello what about me using 9 inch tins could i still use the same amount of ingredients for basic sponge please help

  27. wartimehousewife March 6, 2014 at 12:28 #

    Hi Sarah: I would use half quantities again ie. 6663 or 8884 assuming that you want a decent-sized cake.

  28. sarah March 7, 2014 at 21:00 #

    thank you i will let you know how it turns out just getting into the baking thing x

  29. sarah March 8, 2014 at 18:20 #

    hello i am sorry i have brought the silicone square cake pan it is 9 inch wide and 2 inches deep would i still use the same quantity 8884 or can i use 1010105 and do i still only use one tbsp of milk please can you help :)

  30. sarah March 8, 2014 at 18:21 #

    sorry forgot say for basic sponge

  31. wartimehousewife March 8, 2014 at 23:09 #

    Sarah: If you just have the one tin, do the 8884 and cook it on a slightly lower temperature for a little bit longer. Put a skewer or a thing knife into it to test whether it’s cooked in the middle and, if it isn’t, but is browning on the top, cover it in a little tin foil and put it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes.

    Add the milk as necessary. If you do an 8884 then double the milk you would have used for the 4442 and so on. If you want a stiffer mixture, add the milk a little at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Hope that helps.

  32. sarah March 9, 2014 at 07:28 #

    thank you i am using two tins but doing one at a time cant get both in oven lol going to try it today will let you know how i get on :)

  33. wartimehousewife March 9, 2014 at 22:43 #

    Fair enough, Sarah, let me know how you got on.

  34. julie March 20, 2014 at 17:17 #

    Hi am trying this for the first time fingers crossed, should it be on the middle shelf to cook ? ty

  35. wartimehousewife March 20, 2014 at 17:28 #

    Welcome Julie. Yep middle shelf is best if you don’t have a fan oven. Do let me know how you get on. NB the trick to getting the sponge light is to beat the butter and sugar until it is really light in colour and very fluffy.

  36. sarah March 24, 2014 at 17:21 #

    hiya forgot to post but my cakes came out great everyone loved them even me so proud of them cant stop baking now lol now i want to do a cake with fondant icing on have you got a recipe i can use to do a crumb coat at all :) love this site trying all the recipes my husband thinks its great coming home to homemade food

  37. wartimehousewife March 24, 2014 at 17:36 #

    Well done, Sarah, that’s brilliant. What do you mean by a crumb coating?

  38. sarah March 24, 2014 at 18:26 #

    i want to cover my cake in fondant icing but i need to crumb coat it first so i dont have crumbs coming off i look at all this crumb coating in buttercream icing but i dont want something to sweet if you know what i mean

  39. wartimehousewife March 24, 2014 at 20:20 #

    Use Mock Cream, Sarah, it’s less sickly than buttercream but does the same job. Type mock cream into the search engine on my site and the recipe will come up.

  40. sarah March 24, 2014 at 20:37 #

    thank you so much will it set abit for me to put my fondant over it i am using your sponge mix as well and that was beautiful so i want to use that will the mock cream be alright as a filling with jam as well because i am attempting to make my first wedding cake

  41. marc evans April 13, 2014 at 17:57 #

    I just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix for 5 mins turns out ok hahaha

  42. wartimehousewife April 13, 2014 at 20:05 #

    If it works, it works Marc. Good that you’re doing it.

  43. nic0401 June 3, 2014 at 14:55 #

    will this sponge recipe be suitable for a 3 tiered cake covered in fondant?

  44. wartimehousewife June 3, 2014 at 17:38 #

    Absolutely Nic. Do let me know how you get on.

  45. Lou Walsh June 4, 2014 at 20:00 #

    Omg thank you so much for this divine recipe. I have tried and failed a lot lately with sponges. Either flat or dry or greasy, the list is endless. I will admit it didn’t rise very high but that was down to myself using the wrong time, used my bigger ones.

  46. wartimehousewife June 4, 2014 at 21:13 #

    You’re welcome Lou. The failure to rise could be not beating the butter enough or old flour in which the raising agent has gone off.

  47. Ellen Munro June 12, 2014 at 17:58 #

    Thank you for this recipe!
    Simple and perfect in every way!

  48. wartimehousewife June 13, 2014 at 09:13 #

    Welcome Ellen. I’m so glad this worked for you.

  49. Katie June 16, 2014 at 13:39 #

    By far the best recipe I’ve found with really useful tips. You’ve been added to Pinterest so I don’t lose you :). I always use plain flour and baking powder and add a teaspoon of vanilla essence to the sugar and butter now. x

  50. wartimehousewife June 16, 2014 at 23:42 #

    Welcome Katie and thank you for your endorsement. Hope you keep reading!

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