Its a classic and one of the first things I ever baked. So simple and so good. Very little more needs to be said.
But I will anyway. Traditionally, the sponges are sandwiched only with jam. But I find this a bit boring so I add buttercream with the jam. And traditionally, the sandwich is topped with only caster sugar but again – Zzzzz – so I’ve used a basic white glace icing.
Confession time (I have lots of these). Actually two confessions. Firstly I made this cake with proper butter which is of course traditional and lauded by the traditionalists but actually I think it makes the cake a little on the heavy side. I should have stuck with what I know and used light margarine – I’d recommend you make this substitution. Secondly I made the whole recipe in ounces – as it should be but because I try to cater to allsorts, I’ve included the metric equivalents. Those over the pond should either invest in scales or google the conversions. Oh there is a third confession actually, I ate a good portion of the cake batter straight from the mixing bowl. No regrets.
10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine)
10oz (280g) Caster Sugar
5 Large Eggs
4 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Baking Powder
10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour
3oz (80g) Butter
6oz (160g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk
5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam
3oz (80g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk
Preheat the oven to 180c or the equivalent.
Line 2 15cm round cake tins with liners or butter and flour.
Weigh 10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine) and 10oz (280g) Caster Sugar a large mixing bowl and beat together until light and creamy.
Tip – make sure the butter is at room temperature or very carefully soften it in the microwave – cut it into small cubes and spread them out around a plate or bowl and nuke for 4-5 seconds at a time – you don’t want to melt it.
Tip – A hand whisk or stand mixer is ideal for this but it can be done with a wooden spoon and elbow grease.
Add 5 Large Eggs one at a time giving the batter a good whisk between each egg addition.
Tip – The mixture will likely split – do not panic, do not start again, do not weep gently. Keep whisking, it turns out that it really doesn’t matter!
Add 4tbsp Milk one spoonful at a time whisking the batter as you go.
Add 1 tbsp Baking Powder and 10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour and fold this into the batter by hand until just combined.
Tip – Don’t use a mixer here as the gluten in the flour will overwork and your cake sponge will turn out tough.
Split the mixture between the two tins and spread out to even layers. Bake for 20 minutes then check if it is done, give it another couple of minutes each check until it is done.
Tip – ‘Done’ will be when the sponges are golden brown on top and a skewer poked into the middle of the sponge comes out with only crumbs stuck and no liquid batter. I don’t condone overcooking as the cake will be dry but on this occasion, ‘actually cooked’ should be aimed for.
Leave the sponges to cool on a rack, in the tin at first unless you used liners in which case it should be easy to life them out still in the paper and onto the rack.
Wait until the sponges are totally cold before filling and icing.
Make the buttercream by mixing 3oz (80g) Butter, 6oz (160g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk for 5 or so minutes until it is light and fluffy.
Tip – Do not substitute the butter for spread in this part of the recipe – the butter taste and texture is essential to this bit but do make sure the butter is softened before starting the mixing.
Tip – I tried to use my new old Kenwood to make this but ended up having to go back to the old trusty electric hand whisk. You’ll not get a good light buttercream without some kind of eclectic assistance or you’ll end up with the rock hard layer of butter icing of my youth.
Spread the buttercream over one half of the sponge making sure it is relatively evenly spread and just shy of the edges.
Tip – The buttercream will squeeze out as you apply the top layer so if you spread it to the edge now, it will squirt out and make a mess. Not the end of the world admittedly.
Tip – If you can be bothered, I suppose you could pipe the buttercream for a super neat edge.
Spread 5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam over the second half of the sponge – you can go a bit closer to the edge this time as there will be less splurging.
Tip – Jam can be lumpy, even the seedless smooth stuff that I buy so I give it a good stir whilst still in the jar so it makes it easier to spread evenly.
Put the jam covered sponge on top of the buttercream sponge and give it a good press together.
Make the glace icing by mixing together 3oz (80g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk until smooth and spread the icing over the top of the cake by dumping the whole lot dead centre and spooning it outwards with the back of the spoon until the edges are nearly reached.
Serve in great hunking slices with a cup of tea. In a cup and saucer (japes).