Basic Sponge Cake
For each pint of liquid that your cake tin will contain, include:
2oz (50g) soft margarine
2oz (50g) caster sugar
2oz (50g) Self-raising flour
1 Egg, beaten
In order to make a chocolate sponge cake replace some of the flour with sieved cocoa powder - I usually use about an ounce (25g) of cocoa.
- Grease and line the cake tin(s) with either greaseproof paper. Then grease the lining paper. Even if your pans are non-stick, this is always worth doing to be safe!
- Put the oven on to warm up whilst you're preparing the mixture. Gas mark 3 (170°C / 325°F).
- Cream the margarine and sugar together. This is easier if the margarine is at room temperature, rather than straight from the fridge.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well at each addition. Once all the egg is added, sieve the flour into the mix, gently fold, incorporating lots of air.
- Ensure the ingredients are all mixed together well.
- Add the splash of milk. The amount added depends on the consistency of the mixture at this point; sometimes it's as little as a teaspoon, and it's never more than a tablespoon or so. Your mixture should drop gently off your spoon.
- Transfer the mixture to the cake tin(s) and put into the oven.
Baking times will vary, depending on how big the cake is. Do not open the oven in the first half hour of baking! An 8" cake will take around 45 minutes. If you are baking in 2 half tins, it will take around half an hour. The cake is ready when a toothpick slid into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Once you have smoothed your icing, if necessary, slightly dampen the top and apply your topper! Decorate to finish.