Baking a better sponge

My first attempt at sponge cake was pretty good but in need of some tweaking. The coffee flavour really didn't come through and I could taste the egg, despite assurances from everyone else that it was perfectly fine. This time I tweaked the recipe a bit to include some of the other ingredients I've seen online. The result was much better, a bit sweeter without being cloying, and still with the light texture you want from a sponge cake.

As it was a birthday cake, I decorated it with butter cream frosting and sprinkles on the side, butter cream frosting between the layers, and fondant icing on top. I think it would be much nicer with fresh whipped cream and strawberries, or perhaps a passionfruit glaze and whipped cream. I'll be making the basic recipe again and trying it out with loads of variations as it's really pretty easy when you've got a good mixer.

Vanilla sponge

4 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 cup wheaten cornflour
1 tspn cream of tartar
1 tbspn custard powder
1/2 tspn bicarb soda


Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius. Grease and flour two 20 cm sandwich pans. Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar has dissolved and the whites are stiff. Fold in the yolks and vanilla, being careful not to lose volume from the whites. Sift the remaining dry ingredients at least three times. Gently fold through the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake 20 - 25 minutes until sides have shrunk from the edges of the pans.


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