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How to bake the lightest sponge cakes

A sponge mixture is the foundation of many a classic cake, from the traditional Victoria sandwich to a double-chocolate loaf. Read below for six of our top tips to help you get the perfect texture every time.

And, whilst you’re here, why don’t you check out our home-baking aisle at Ocado.com.

GET ORGANISED

Cakes put into a cold oven won’t rise properly, so always preheat it. Prepare the baking tins as per the recipe. Have all the ingredients weighed out and at room temperature. Check the eggs are the correct size for the recipe – use large if no size is stated. Butter should be softened, not melted into a pool. 

Need a baking tin to get started? This Tala Performance Springform Cake Tin is perfect for the classic Victoria sponge.

ADD MAXIMUM AIR

The sieve is your friend when adding the flour as it makes everything more airy. Then use a metal spoon to gently fold it in by hand. Don’t destroy all the air bubbles you’ve just whisked and sifted in by being too heavy handed! 

TIME IT RIGHT

Sticking a bamboo skewer into the centre of the cake is still best for testing if it’s done. It should come out clean, or with a few dry crumbs clinging to it. If it has wet mix on it, return to the oven for a few minutes. Turn sponge cakes out onto a wire rack once cool enough to handle, so they don’t overbake from the heat of the tin. 

COMBINE JUST SO

Use a wooden spoon or electric hand whisk to cream the butter and sugar together, until pale and fluffy – you’re looking for a moussey texture. Add the egg mixture a bit at a time, and don’t over-beat or it’ll split (this is when it looks curdled). If it does split, stir in a spoon of the weighed-out flour to bring it together. 

DON’T HANG ABOUT

After mixing, spoon the cake batter into tins and put in the oven straight away. Raising agents in the flour start to work quickly, and the air bubbles they create will deteriorate if the mixture is left standing around. 

TO TOP IT OFF

Jam and cream are the classic fillings for a Victoria sandwich, but why not mix things up a bit? Try creamy Nutella and sliced bananas, or mix some lemon curd and mascarpone together for a zingy twist.

SPONGE CAKE RECIPES TO TRY

Victoria sponge with limoncello cream

Spiked with lemon liqueur and custardy lemon curd, this classic gets a welcome citrus lift.

Get the recipe >

Neapolitan ice-cream cake

Our fresh twist on this much-loved classic gives it a new lease of life. We’ve used colourful sprinkles for decoration, but you could use chocolatey strands instead.

Get the recipe >

Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake

We’ve added a warming kick of ginger to this updated classic – and it’s also gluten free.

Get the recipe >

Hazelnut, honey and nut butter loaf cake

Weighing, whisking, dolloping, mixing – all the cake-making joy, but with wholesome ingredients.

Get the recipe >


Looking for more baking inspiration? Check out our baking recipe collection here.

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