I’m always fascinated by unusual recipes for familiar-looking cakes. This looks like a fairly ordinary buttercream sponge sandwich but the method of making is unlike any I have come across in that you add extra air to the sponge by beating the egg whites separately and then folding in. I know it is a technique used for certain cakes but, in my experience, such recipes do not then also use the egg yolk or include any butter. Anyway, I’m probably making it sound way more complicated than it is!
The recipe only used buttercream for sandwiching the sponges, I decided to add a little jam too just to give it an extra flavour and texture.
This is by no means a tricky cake to make but you will need two mixing bowls to hand.
The strange thing is that the texture of the cake is quite dense, but the sponge is very light. It also came out an unusual (i.e. wonky) shape which you can see from the finished cake.
For the cake:
125g unsalted butter
210g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125ml milk (whole or semi skimmed)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the buttercream:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, if required
Optional: jam to sandwich the cake
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line two 20cm round sandwich tins with baking paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Don’t skimp as this is an important stage.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time and then the vanilla.
- Weigh out the flour and baking powder, and also measure out the milk and water.
- Beat the dry and the wet ingredients into the butter mix alternately. I split it into three batches of each i.e. dry, wet, dry, wet, dry wet.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until you reach the stiff peak stage.
- Fold the egg whites into the cake batter using a metal spoon. I always fold one spoonful of egg white in first to slacken the mix and find it makes folding in the rest easier.
- The batter should be soft but not runny. Spoon it into the prepared sandwich tins, it should level itself.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Mine took 35 minutes.
- Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
- The sponges can be made a day in advance if, when cool, stored in an airtight container. To have the buttercream at its soft and delicious best, I would make it on the day.
- For the buttercream, beat all the ingredients together except the milk until smooth and creamy. If the buttercream looks a little solid, beat in the milk.
- If using, spread the jam onto one of the sponges. Spread half the buttercream on top and then sandwich with the other sponge.
- Spread the remaining buttercream on the top of the sponge. I chose to cut my sponges through so I ended up with a four layer cake. It doesn’t really make a difference.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.