I 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
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
VICTORIA SANDWICH CAKE
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.
OTHER WAYS OF USING BASIC SPONGE
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
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