How to make the perfect sponge cake

There's a reason the classics never disappoint, and you can't get much more classic than a perfectly baked sponge cake. Don't mind if we do!

Baking a Victoria sponge - named after Queen Victoria, don't you know - doesn't have to be a daunting task; following a few simple steps will guarantee light, fluffy results, every time.

For ingredient quantities, check out the full Victoria sponge with passionfruit icing recipe.

Step 1: Preheat oven to hot (200˚C) and grease two deep, 22 cm round cake pans. Dust with flour, shaking out excess.

Step 2: In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy; this is called "ribbon stage", and should take between six and eight minutes.

Step 3: Sift dry ingredients together onto a piece of baking paper before sifting evenly over the surface of the thick, creamy mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold gently together.

Step 4: Pour evenly into the prepared pans, swirling to make sure the mixture reaches the edges. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked when tested. (Lightly press your fingertip into the centre of the sponge; it should spring back easily.)

Step 5: Turn your cakes out onto a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel, inverting so that they cool right side up. Then simply sandwich your sponge with jam, cream and fresh berries, and drizzle with the passionfruit icing.

Once you've mastered your light-and-fluffy sponge cake skills, try adding a sprinkling of new flavours; banana brown sugar sponge with cinnamon icing is deliciously decadent, while ginger sponge roulade perfectly balances sweet and earthy flavours.

Now all that's left to do is put the kettle on!

By Deirdre Fogarty

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