Once upon a time, I feared sponge cakes. I had a few bad experiences with sponges of a temperamental nature. They were teases really. You know the kind. The kind which get all worked up after you’ve fluffed their egg whites, aerated their flour and handled them with delicate fingers, before they deflate into a sunken frown. Somehow, by looking at the recipe, I just knew that Victoria was going to be different. Victoria was going to be no fuss. Victoria was going to be sweet and gentle, but confident in herself. Victoria wasn’t going to collapse in fear of her début… she was going to shine. And shine, she did.
Recipe from the trusty Australian Women’s Weekly’s Bake cookbook. This recipe works best when all ingredients are at room temperature.
250g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour (sifted)
1 punnet blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160° fan-forced). Grease and line two deep 20cm round cake pans with baking paper.
Beat butter, vanilla and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time before beating in milk. My mixture curdled at this point because my milk was straight from the fridge. But, once I started adding flour it was all fine again.
Stir sifted flour into mixture in two batches. Don’t overwork the batter at this point. But, thankfully, you also don’t need to be as gentle as some sponges require here either.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans. I weigh what goes in each pan to make sure it turns out even, because I use to always think they were about the same and then end up with one skinny cake and one fatter cake, which took a different duration to cook.
Gently smooth out the cake batter. I usually lightly oil the back of a spoon and use that to edge the batter about evenly until the batter is flat, or slightly raised around the edges (to accommodate the fact that the middle of the cake will rise). This stops the batter sticking to the spoon and makes it easier to work with.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn sponges out, top side up, onto a baking paper lined cake rack. Lining the rack helps to stop the sponge sticking, or getting cake rack lines on the cake.
Once completely cool, sandwich the cake bottoms together with curd and berries and dust the top with icing sugar.
If I had my time over, I would have spooned curd on both layers, so that they stuck better together. My top cake sat on top of the blueberries and wasn’t firmly stuck to the bottom layer, making it difficult to cut and serve. I think a bit more curd would had done the trick.
I’d recommend using a large serrated knife to cut this cake in a light sawing manner, as it helps to keep the layers together. I cut the whole cake in half to begin with, as that made it easier to then cut neat and even slices.