fool-proof sponge cake

I don't remember where I got this recipe from, I just remember that I've been using it for probably 40 or more years.


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ounces cornflour
  • 2 ounces plain flour
  • 4 ounces caster sugar
  • few drops angostura bitters (I often don't bother with this) 

  1. Set oven at 200 degrees
  2. lightly grease and flour your chosen cake tin (I mostly use an 8inch round by 3 inches high, but have used a swiss roll tin when using this for lamingtons; have also used a loaf tin and made a lamington log)
  3. Sift flours and baking powder together.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually add sugar, beat until sugar is dissolved. (I use a hand mixer)
  5. Beat in egg yolks. At this point add the angostura bitters if you're using them.
  6. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  7. Pour cake mix into tin and bake until mixture begins to shrink from sides of tin. Top should be a pale golden brown. Takes approximately 12-15 minutes depending on type of cake tin.
  8. Loosen with plastic spatula and cool the cake on a wire rack.
  9. Fill and/or decorate any way you choose.
Once you get the hang of this, it's dead easy. I can make it without even getting out the recipe book. For a sponge sandwich, halve the recipe, and  make two cakes in sandwich tins. Sandwich with jam and cream, or for special birthdays, sandwich with cream and chopped strawberry jelly (jello).


  1. What is caster sugar?

    I never saw a sponge cake recipe with cornflour.

  2. JeanetteLS; caster sugar is white sugar in a finer grain than regular sugar, but not as fine as icing sugar which is in powdered form. It's often used as the coating on cinnamon donuts. The caster sugar is mixed with the cinnamon powder and then the fresh hot donuts are rolled around in this mixture. I think in the US it may be called confectioner's sugar, but that might mean icing sugar, I'm not sure. If you find out, would you let me know?

  3. Do you know what the bitters were supposed to do?
    I have never really been a fan of sponge cakes, but might give it a try. This looks like a really interesting recipe.

  4. You've just mentioned my favourite bite: hot donuts.

  5. EC; the bitters were supposed to add a little flavour. I've never used them, but I suppose if flavour was wanted a few drops of any essence could be used. Lemon comes to mind and vanilla.

    R.H. I'm not a big fan of hot donuts, I can eat one now and again, but more than that tend to sit like lumps of lead in my stomach. It helps to wash them down with hot coffee.

  6. Fool proof? You simply haven't seen me try to make a cake!

  7. Tempo; give it a go, you might surprise yourself.

  8. In your recipe
    Is where I want to be.
    With all its strife
    The cake tin of life.


  9. ....and I've just come back from making an orange cake and reading your blog as it cools. Yes, I make my own SR flour here now.

  10. Kath Lockett, well done making your own SR flour. Enjoy your cake. Does it have icing?

  11. The nearest thing I've found in the US that compares to caster sugar is called Superfine sugar. When I make meringues, I just blitz regular table sugar in the food processor and make my own caster sugar. Confectioners sugar is indeed icing sugar. I haven't had a sponge cake with jelly and whipped cream for ages: they don't do that over here, but I'll be fixing that soon: printed out your recipe and giving it a go.


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