Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

08/04/2021

Never fail sponge

On and off I have used various Victoria sponge recipes, not really sticking with any particular favourite. Then last year, when I had a houseful of hollow legs when we all retreated home to hunker down and wait out the pandemic (little did we know that over a year later we are still restricted one way or the other), I rediscovered a recipe I'd used for many years and then somehow forgot about it.

I still have it written down from when I first started using it .... senior school 'domestic science' classes.  Written on thin school lined paper with no margins (a constant paper shortage meant we had to write from edge to edge and waste nothing) in a sloping joined up script - neat for the teacher in charge. Very different to the random erratic scrawl I favour now.

The weights and measures are in ounces and cups - which I find odd, I thought that I grew up with the metrication system, so I wonder if the teacher herself gave us the recipe..... hmmm, I can't remember. I have since altered and amended it to grams, however I will write down both for you.

The pictures are from today, one cake is for for Youngest and GF to take with them as they return to uni and the other to 'pay' for another dozen eggs which appeared at the back door - I suspect this may become an annual tradition which started last year during the lockdown.
Never Fail Sponge
  • 140 gm (5 oz) butter 
  • 170gm (6oz) sugar
  • 225gm (8oz) self raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml (1/4 cup) milk
Heat oven to 190 deg c
Beat butter and sugar well, add eggs one by one. Beat well, gradually add flour and milk.
Drop into lined/greased baking tins and bake for approx 20 -25 mins (until skewer comes out clean and the cake has a light 'bounce' on the surface when touched.
For a chocolate cake - swap out 2 generously heaped tablespoons of cocoa for flour.


If you are making it for guests (remember those strange things we used have visiting us years ago??!) it is great with whipped cream and strawberries, but for an every day scoff-it-with-coffee cake - jam with a goodly layer of thick glacé icing is perfect (not too runny otherwise it just vanishes).

If you look at the original recipe, you will notice that I have made alterations both handwritten and on today's typed version and true to my cooking style, I do it differently again!

I use butter not margarine as the original recipe calls for - I think it was due to sanctions and restrictions that butter was deemed a luxury and school cooking classes thought margarine was an acceptable alternative.
I melt the butter in the microwave, stir in the sugar - who wants to beat butter to a pliable consistency when a gentle stirring in of the sugar to a softened yellow gloop is so much easier.

The added cocoa - if you do the 2 tsps as I have written - you get a pale slightly hot chocolate flavoured cake - however if you want a cake that screams chocolate! 2 tablespoons of the heaped variety is more your scene. And I never add salt - butter has salt in it. Full stop.

So, there you have it - a simple and reliable cake recipe, one I have used for xxxxx number of decades!

Right, need to go and 'parcel up' Youngest's cake, they are packing the car and I want to make sure it goes with them.

15 comments:

  1. I love these old handwritten recipes passed down through families and friends. It’s a really interesting combination as i always use the same amount of margarine, sugar and flour and then 1 egg for every 50grams ... if that makes sense. Good to have a failsafe recipe though ... nothing worse than baking for guests and having a disaster 😃

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    1. If you have a failsafe recipe then it is worth hanging on to - as you say if you have guests you need a recipe that you can rely on!

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  2. Sounds like and looks absolutely delicious. I have to admit my Victoria sponge always looks thin and unspongy (that word can't exist) so I rarely make one! tch! I am willing to try again based on these tempting images you have shared. What size tin do you use? Happy baking Amanda x

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    1. Do you know - I dont know! I just pull it out of the baking drawer, I shall measure it for you right now!
      20cm/8" across.
      I don't use lots of little tins and pile them up, I use one large tin (height wise) then cut the cooled cake (using cotton) into 2 layers so I know that the top layer will sit neatly on the bottom layer rather than them teetering about! Do give it a go and let me know how you do :) x

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    2. Thanks for the tin size and also advice. I will try that. A x

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  3. Thanks Kate & may try that when things get back to a new normal & we can "do" things again. I still use a lot of my Mum's old recipes & a couple from my grandmother I never knew. DD even uses a lot of these too. Take care & hugs.

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    1. Definitely an easy to do afternoon tea cake - could give it a trial run first and enjoy and eat it in the garden :)

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  4. Yes, the good old Never Fail Sponge. Old school recipes are usually fool proof. I like to put either cream or butter cream in with the jam in the centre rather than on top, then make a pattern on top with icing sugar sifted over a plastic 'doily' to make a lacey design. 🧡 xx

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    1. It is the only school recipe that I remember or use, I suspect it is because the school cookery classes were (if I recall rightly) very traditional meat and two veg style cooking which I don't do x :)

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  5. I love the cake for non-special days in the UK. I rarely make cakes outside birthdays but think tea and cake more often is lovely. I do make cupcakes in the summer as my nieces and nephews like them at cabin. My kids apparently have all outgrown them. We seem to be soft and yummy cookie people.

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    1. Any day is a good day for a piece of cake with your mug of tea!!!

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  6. The cake sounds delicious and simple to make. I'm not making cake much at the moment but when I can invite people round I will try it.

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    1. It is very simple :) makes good cupcakes too x

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  7. Cake looks great. I like the microwave tip; will try it out when I next need to beat butter and sugar. Even with a hand-held electric mixer, I dislike this part of baking! My fail-safe sponge is a gluten-free recipe. I don't need gluten-free food but this recipe works every time. x

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    1. If I am truly honest - I usually melt the butter until it is almost completely liquid when I make scones and it makes them the lightest and fluffiest ever!

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