This version of the classic sponge is filled and topped with coffee butter icing. In the U.K. this is known as coffee cake but in North America, coffee cake can be any cake meant to accompany a cup of coffee, which is why I called this one a coffee topped sponge.
You will also need 30 cm x 25 cm (12 x 10 inch) brownie tin/pan, greased and lined.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand whisk or alternatively a food mixer with whisk attachment.
Add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
Now add a quarter of the beaten eggs and beat at full speed.
Then add the remaining egg gradually, beating well between each addition. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Next add the coffee and whisk in.
Spoon over the flour, baking powder, and chopped walnuts. Lightly fold in by hand until all the flour is incorporated.
Now loosen the mixture with the milk.
Pour into the prepared tin/pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tin/pan to cool completely.
For the topping
First melt the chocolate. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continually stir the chocolate until it has just melted and then remove immediately from the heat and leave to cool while preparing the topping.
Beat the mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth.
Sift in the sugar and beat again until combined.
Add the melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth.
Now spread evenly over the cake.
Sift over cocoa powder.
Then cut into squares.
The squares need to be stored in the refrigerator.
*I buy my golden syrup from a British store here in Canada. If you are unable to find golden syrup then substitute it with liquid honey.
For the filling and decoration
150g(5¼ oz) unsalted butter, softened (⅔ cup, or 1¼ sticks)
300g(11 oz) icing/powdered sugar (2¾ cups)
2tbspcoffee extract, or Camp coffee
2tbspicing/powdered sugar, for sifting
24chocolate buttons OR
40milk chocolate chips
You will also need 2 × 18 cm, 7 in sandwich cake tins/pans, greased and base lined. Also a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star nozzle.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Now gradually add the beaten eggs, golden syrup, and coffee, together with 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour and ½ teaspoon baking power.
OR put everything in a mixing bowl or food mixer, but adding 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and whisk until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.
Divide equally between the two cake tins/pans and level the tops.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. The sponges will also have slightly shrunk away from the sides of the tins/pans.
Leave for a couple of minutes and then turn out onto wire cooling racks and remove the lining paper. Leave to cool completely.
For the filling and decoration
Meanwhile beat the butter, icing/powdered sugar, coffee, and water together until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.
Put a quarter in the icing bag and put to one side.
Place one of the sponges on a flat surface and spread evenly with the remaining coffee cream. Then place the second sponge on top and sift heavily with icing/powdered sugar.
Now lightly mark the top of the cake with a knife through the icing/powdered sugar into 8 equal portions. (This will be used as a guide for the piping.)
Now starting from the outside edge of the cake, pipe a line of buttercream on each marked portion but only take it up within an inch of the centre. Then pipe a ring of stars to join the lines in the centre.
Arrange the chocolate buttons or chocolate chips in the lines of piped buttercream.
To finish, lightly dust over the whole cake with a little icing/powdered sugar.
The cake can be frozen. Put in a rigid container with a cover and freeze. To thaw, allow 2–3 hours at room temperature.
You will also need a 600 ml (1 pint) pudding basin and a steamer.
Beat the egg in a small jug and then add the milk. Put to one side.
Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Then gradually fold in the flour alternately with the egg and milk. The mixture should drop gently from a spoon.
Alternatively put all the ingredients in a food mixer but add ½ tsp baking powder. Beat until you have a smooth, creamy mixture that will drop gently from a spoon.
Grease the pudding basin and add mixture. Take a piece of foil that will cover the top of the basin and come halfway down the sides. Make a pleat through the middle to allow for any expansion. Place over the basin and pinch under rim. Take a length of string. It needs to go round the basin under the rim and be secured tightly. Then cut a second length to make a handle which will make it easier to remove the hot basin at the end of cooking.
Fill the saucepan with about two inches of water and bring to the boil. Place the basin in the steamer, cover with the lid, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
If you don’t have a steamer, use a deep-sided saucepan. Prepare the basin in the same way and place in the saucepan. Carefully pour boiling water into the saucepan so it comes no more than halfway up the basin. Cover and let the water simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove the basin, take off the string and foil, and run a palette knife round the inside. Invert onto a plate and serve.
Serve with a fruit or chocolate sauce.
To make a pudding for 2
Use 1½ oz butter, 1½ oz sugar, 3 oz flour, 1 egg and ½ tbsp milk.
You will need a ¾ pint pudding basin.
To make a pudding for 6
Use 3 oz butter, 3 oz sugar, 6 oz flour, 2 medium eggs and ½ tbsp milk.
You will need a 1½ pint pudding basin.
Variations of the basic recipe
Steamed Fruit Sponge Pudding
Fold in 50 g (2 oz) sultanas to the basic mixture just before pouring into the basin.
This recipe makes 20 individual cakes of a light coffee sponge filled with finely chopped walnuts. They are sandwiched with a creamy coffee filling which is also used to coat the top. Each cake is then decorated with a half walnut. Scrumptious!
Coffee Walnut Cakes
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 35–40 minutes
For the sponge
225g(8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
225g(8 oz) light muscovado sugar/light brown soft sugar (1 cup)
4eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), lightly beaten
You will also need a tin/pan 20 × 30 × 5 cm (8 × 12 × 2 inches) base lined. The right-sized roasting tin/pan will work.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Using a food mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Now gradually add the beaten eggs. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 1 tablespoon flour.
Using a large spoon, fold in the flour and then the coffee extract, milk, and chopped walnuts until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin/pan and level the surface. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the tin/pan to cool completely. Because of its size, the easiest way to do this is to place a wire rack over the top of the tin/pan, turn the rack over, lift off the tin/pan, and peel away the lining from the cake. Then place a second wire rack over the bottom of the cake and set the cake the right way up on the wire rack.
Meanwhile, to make the butter icing. Beat together the butter, icing/powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee extracts, together with 1½ tablespoons of hot water, until smooth.
To make it easier to decorate, cut the cake into two once it has completely cooled. Now slice each half horizontally through the middle and then sandwich back together using half the butter icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cakes.
Cut each cake into 10 equal pieces and decorate each piece with a walnut half.
A simple light sponge recipe that is the basis of many kinds of sponge cakes, the famous one being the Victoria Sponge Sandwich. This basic sandwich sponge can be filled with a conserve or creamy filling and the top iced, usually with a soft icing, or simply covered with caster or icing sugar/powdered sugar.
Basic Sponge Sandwich
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20–25 minutes
115g(4 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
115g(4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
115g(4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
You will also need 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, greased and base-lined.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer makes this cake very quick to prepare.
First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 1 minute until the mixture is creamy.
Divide evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 20–25 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with a fingertip.
Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings and cool on a wire cooling rack.
For a deeper sponge
This is known as a two-egg cake, for a deeper sponge use 3 eggs and increase the rest of the ingredients accordingly, and bake for 30–35 minutes.
This mixture will also make
This quantity of mixture will also be sufficient for 18 cup cakes, a 18 cm (7 inch) square cake, a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake or a 23 cm (9 inch) ring cake.
Alternatives to a plain sponge
Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
Add 2 teaspoons of coffee extract or 1 tablespoon of instant coffee blended with 2 teaspoons of hot water.
Add 1 teaspoon of grated orange, lemon or lime rind.
Always line the base of the tin even if it is non-stick. When greasing, brush butter on evenly. The cake will still stick if it is greased unevenly.
Have everything weighed or measured before beginning to mix.
No self raising flour? Add 1 level teaspoon baking powder to every 115 g (4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour. Sift the flour twice to incorporate as much air as possible and mix the two ingredients together thoroughly.
Butter should be at room temperature for baking. If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge, it can be microwaved on defrost for 20–30 seconds, until the butter is soft but still holds its shape.
Leave at least 1 inch space all round tins so that the heat can circulate freely.
Give the sponges the baking time suggested in the recipe but use this as a guide. Ovens vary – some are hotter and so cakes will take less time to cook and vice versa. It is better to start checking a few minutes before the allotted time. and if the cake is cooked in less time take it out of the oven. Conversely, if it is not ready at the allotted time allow a couple more minutes and check again. Also, when a cake is ready you can smell it. So your sight and smell are good allies.
To tell when they are ready, gently touch in the centre with the fingertips and, if the mixture feels springy and no imprints remain, the cakes are baked. They should also shrink away from around the sides of the tin.
For chocoholics in the family, this is a delectable chocolate cake. The chocolate flavoured sponge is very light and and the chocolate icing is a little fudgy and is used as a filling too. Of course, you have to finish it off with more chocolate, and slivers of chocolate are used decorate the top. The only non-chocolate addition is apricot jam that is used before adding the icing and this makes it more moist.
good quality plain/dark chocolate for the decoration
You will also need 2 x 20 cm (8 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl.
Then put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together using a hand-held electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks as if it might curdle, mix in a few tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon.
Then drizzle the cooled cocoa mixture over the top and mix in.
Divide the mixture equally between the two pans and level the surface of each.
Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 40 minutes. The cakes should have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tins/pans and will spring back when lightly pressed with a forefinger.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tins/pans for 3 minutes. Then remove, peel off the linings and leave to cool completely on wire racks.
For the filling, icing, and decoration
Place the chocolate for the decoration in the refrigerator to become cold as it will be easier to work with.
Now for the filling and icing, sift the icing/powdered sugar into a bowl.
Put the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt over a low heat. As soon as it has melted , mix in the cocoa powder and cook over a very low heat for 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk.
Then add the icing/powdered sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating well between each addition. You may not need all of the sugar. Just add enough to make a coating consistency.
Leave to cool a little while preparing the apricot glaze.
If using apricot glaze, warm through about 6 tablespoons.
If using apricot jam. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 6 tablespoons of apricot jam to thin it a little and gently heat to warm through. The jam will now be of a consistency to pass through a sieve to remove any pieces of fruit.
Next invert one of the sponge layers and place it on a serving plate.
Using a palette knife, coat with about a quarter of the glaze, then top with two good tablespoonfuls of the icing and spread evenly over the jam.
Place the second sponge on top and spread the sides and top with the remaining glaze using just enough to coat.
Then spread the remaining icing over the whole cake.
Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and, over a plate, pull a potato peeler along the long smooth edge. This will make tiny slivers of chocolate. You will need about 28 g (1 oz). Scatter these on top of the cake to decorate.
A true summer trifle – one that is so simple but so light and delicious. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and redcurrants sit on a sponge base and are topped with a wine syllabub.
The syllabub originated in 16th century England. It was a drink of milk or cream curdled with a little wine or cider, sweetened and flavoured. In modern recipes a dessert syllabub is a thick or heavy cream curdled with wine or sherry, sweetened and flavoured, usually with lemon. It is whipped until thick and foamy.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Standing time: 2 hours
Chilling time: 3 hours
340g(12 oz) a mix of strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants (2 cups)
40g(1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
60ml(2 fl oz) dry white wine (¼ cup)
2mini sponge cases
55g(2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
142mlcarton double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
You will also need 4 x squat glass tumblers or similar pretty glasses for this recipe.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. Hull and slice the strawberries. Strip the redcurrants from their stalks by gently running the tines of a fork down the stalks.
Place all the fruit in a bowl and sprinkle over 40 g (1½ oz) sugar. Toss to coat the fruit and leave for 2 hours to draw out the juices.
Measure the wine into a small bowl. Pare a couple of slices of rind from the lemon, cut these in half and add to the wine, making sure they are covered. Put to one side for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, cut the sponge cases to fit the base of the four glasses.
Divide the fruit and the juice between the four glasses, spooning it over the sponge base.
Remove the lemon rind from the wine. Squeeze one and half tablespoons of juice from the lemon and add to the wine along with the remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
In a large bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Now slowly add the wine mixture, whisking continuously, until the cream mixture becomes thick and frothy. Spoon this equally over the fruit and swirl the top.
Next weekend is the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and, as we are having the family over, I shall make a special dessert to celebrate it.
Celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24 goes back to 1845 in Canada, so I thought I would base a cake on the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. Apparently, Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of cake with her afternoon tea and this cake was named after her. All I have added is the maple leaf to symbolize the Canadian connection.
maple leaf template. I printed a shape found on the internet and made sure the size would fit on the top of the cake
2x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, base lined and greased
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. (When pressing a finger gently on top of the cake in the middle it should spring back and not leave a depression)
Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.
Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer. To make sure you get a good rise, add 1½ teaspoons baking powder.
Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.
For the filling
Beat the butter, then gradually beat in the icing sugar/powdered sugar until light and creamy. (A free-standing mixer does this in no time)
Warm the lemon juice and add to the butter icing.
Once the sponge is cool, invert one of the sponges and place on a plate. Reserve two tablespoons of the icing, spread the remaining buttercream over the sponge, and then cover evenly with the jam. Top with the remaining sponge.
For the decoration
Press a piece of kitchen paper over the top of the cake to absorb any excess moisture.
From the template, cut out the maple leaf, leaving the paper around it intact as you will be needing both pieces. Place the maple leaf section in the middle on top of the cake and, keeping this in place, thickly dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar around the edge. Carefully lift off the maple leaf template.
Now, using the other template, cover the icing sugar/powdered sugar. While holding this in place, spread the remaining buttercream over the middle of the cake. Then sprinkle a thick layer of the red sprinkles over the buttercream and gently press down so they stay in place. Very carefully lift off the template.
This is a true classic cherry madeira cake and a slice is perfect with tea or coffee any time of day. The buttery, light texture has a hint of orange flavour and pieces of cherry are generously spread throughout.
Cherry Madeira Cake
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
170g(6 oz) butter (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
170g(6 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
115g(4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
170g(6 oz) glacé cherries (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
15cm(6 inch) cake tin, greased and lined
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F (gas mark 3)
First, rinse the cherries under cold water and then dry them. (This prevents them from sinking when baking). Then cut them into quarters.
Zest the orange and squeeze the juice from one half.
Sift the flours together in a bowl and then set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (A little flour can be added between beating in the eggs to prevent the mixture from curdling.)
Beat the orange zest into the mixture.
Fold in the flours and then the glacé cherries.
Finally, add just enough orange juice to give a dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the tin making a slight hollow in the centre with the back of the spoon.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle of the cake. Cover the cake with a sheet of baking parchment if the top starts to brown too quickly.
Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months, just defrost overnight before serving.
Butter that is at room temperature and not taken straight from the fridge will be softer and just right for creaming.
Always use eggs that are at room temperature. I tend to keep a bowl with half a dozen eggs in on the counter so there are always eggs at room temperature ready to use.