I’ve always been a little terrified of making sponge cake. It was never something my mum would make. Our house was more about semolina cake, wholemeal flour, no sugar, lentils and whole grains, fruit – a sponge cake was a foreign concept. I tried sponges at other kids’ birthday parties, country kids’ houses. I was a country kid too, but a different kind of country kid to the ones whose parents ran dairy cattle or farmed bananas and had been residents of the valley long before the hippies.
There really isn’t really a secret to the perfect, never fail sponge, or so Carol Clay from the Country Women’s association assured us. Sarah met her at the Victorian CWA fair demonstrating how to make this delicately spiced and light as a laugh Ginger Fluff Sponge cake. She said that you just need a good recipe, an electric mixer and a soft touch. And this is a good recipe. But I think the real secret is in being fearless, in not letting that ideal of the perfect sponge intimidate.
The ginger fluff sponge makes a beautiful birthday cake, it’s so light and airy it could still be consumed after a giant meal or a bagful of lollies. It’s so good it will make your (country) grandmother proud.
Ginger Fluff Sponge
from Carol Clay, CWA of Victoria
(This recipe was first published in Yen Magazine)
3 free-range eggs, (room temperature, even a little warm – this is important!)
½ cup castor sugar
¾ cup cornflour/custard powder
1/3 tsp bi-carbonate soda
¾ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp each of ground ginger, cinnamon and cocoa
1 tbsp golden syrup (wet the spoon first)
Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and flour your (23cm) tin so that it is covered all over with no ungreased un-floured spots. Beat the eggs until thick (this may take a little while, 15 minutes or so), add golden syrup and then gradually add sugar a spoonful at a time beating until thick and creamy. Fold in sifted dry ingredients and pour into tin. Give the tin a little tap on the bench to let some of the air bubbles out and cook 20-25 minutes.
Sponge is cooked when it springs back in the centre and begins to leave the sides of the tin, it might seem a little soft, but it’ll be done. Carefully tip out onto cake cooler.
If you would like, double this recipe and bake two cakes. Let cool – the sponge should be sturdy once it has cooled – then assemble, filling with fresh whipped cream and dusting with sifted icing sugar. You could even triple this recipe and make a cake tower – if you were feeling confident, and hungry!Category: baking, cakes, dessert, recipes