| ginger fluff sponge cake

July 31, 2011

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
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ginger fluff sponge cake: 12 comments

  1. Rob Says:

    My grandmother gave me a very similar recipe for a plain sponge, but over time I stopped using it for some reason. One of the details I can’t remember is whether it has to be wheaten cornflour or if you can use corn cornflour. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    Also, her recipe had a teaspoon of plain flour in it.

    And are there dairy-free options for filling it, or does you have any ideas for alternatives to cream?

  2. romy Says:

    We used wheaten cornflour Rob – and a great dairy free option for filling would be jam. I have a great mango and ginger jam that would be beautiful with this.

  3. Rob Says:

    Hmm, my neighbour gave me some rosella jam he made, but I’m not too keen on the idea of ginger (or spices in general) and rosella. I’ll have to look around for something similar to your suggestion, then make the sponge, then eat it.

  4. Lexi Says:

    This looks so pretty – and it reminds me of my grandmother. She loved ginger and she made a mean sponge cake. There are so many recipes in my vintage cookbooks for ‘no-fail’ sponges or ‘best ever’ sponges – and they all use different ingredients, proportions etc! It’s put me off trying to develop a go-to sponge recipe, because I never know where to start. Maybe I’ll start here! Thanks.

  5. Emmy Says:

    I am coeliac so of course would not use wheaten cornflour… but do you think there’s any difference in the end product depending on which one you use?

  6. anna Says:

    Yes Please !

  7. Emma Says:

    You sound like you grew up similar to me – growing up in northern NSW my mum would make carob brownies, fruit bars or wholemeal bread and we were never allowed store bought bikkies or refined sugar.

    I think the fearless attitude is a good one to have with any baking really.

    Love the flavours in yours, it looks really lovely and light.

  8. jJohn Says:

    This looks great! Is the oven temp a fan-forced setting? and do you mean cornflour AND custard powder or one or the other?

  9. Romy Says:

    Hi John – we mean one or the other, cornflour or custard powder and temp is for a un fan forced.

  10. Kimberley Says:

    My Grandma and Great-Grandma alway made these. They are my favourites. BUT I can not seem to be able to re-create it. My sponge ALWAYS drops once its out of the oven. can you give me any tips as to why this may be? Also can you give me your top tips for your sponge??

    I would really like to make this for my cousins birthday (My Grandma always made it for her and she passed away last year – so this is my way of carrying on her legacy)

    Thank you for your time.

  11. sarah Says:

    Hi Kimberly, I hope this recipe works well for you! Let us know how you go, I don’t think there is anything else I can add! Sarah

  12. Nici Says:

    I’ve found with sponge making that I get an almost fool-proof result from beating the whites separately, adding the sugar slowly along the way. Addd the yolks afterwards. I started to sift the flour materials five times(!) to get it really even and then just sift in a small amount at a time.
    It also helps to concentrate really hard on what you’re doing, so my usual slack and sloppy method doesn’t work with sponges.
    Needless to say, my mother doesn’t take any of these precautions and still makes a great sponge so perhaps my hand is heavier than her’s.
    I’m about to try your Ginger Fluff recipe.

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