Shark-Eaten Sponge Cake.

What have you done to my sponge cake?

Fortunately, Mum’s still alive and well and she’s well and truly used to people hacking into her not-so-precious sponge cake with whatever knife they can get their thieving hands on and sawing off a chunk before it’s even had a chance to cool down.

Baking with Mister back in 2007, aged 3.

Baking with Mister back in 2007, aged 3.

As you might suspect from this hack-sawed photo, our family eats this sponge cake in sawn off chunks straight out of the tin, although for more formal occasions, it gets smothered in passion fruit icing and filling with whipped cream. Another options is topping the sponge with strawberries and cream.

Yum! A sawn-off slab of sponge.

Yum! A sawn-off slab of sponge.

However, don’t let its hack-sawed, shark-eaten appearance deter you from trying this sponge cake, which take it from me, is the very best sponge cake you will ever find and it’s like no other sponge I’ve ever found.

That’s because like most family recipes, there’s those secret ingredients. That special way of putting those same old ingredients together which produces something incredible. The “thing” which the family talks about for generations, lamenting how no one else can get it right.

Too good to waste.

Too good to waste.

This sponge cake has very auspicious origins. It is based on the recipe which used to appear on the box of Fielder’s Cornflour.I’m sure this recipe was originally referred to as Val’s Sponge Cake on the box and we had a family friend Val who used to make sponge cakes for the Royal Brisbane Show. They had a dairy out at Marburg West of Brisbane and I remember visiting their place as a kid. The table also sank under the weight of the cakes! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Judging Sponge Cakes 1948.

Judging Sponge Cakes 1948.

Somewhere along the way, however, I think Mum adapted Val’s sponge cake and added a little bit of warmed milk and melted butter and this little addition makes a huge difference to the cake. It is incredible and really don’t need any toppings at all.

So, without any further ado, here’s Mum’s Sponge Cake Recipe:

6 eggs
8 oz Castor Sugar (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
2 Tblsp Plain Flour
1 cup cornflour + 1 tablespoon
2 Teas Aunty Mary’s Baking Powder
4 Tablespoons Milk
3 Teas Butter


1. Heat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit or 170 degrees Celsius fan-forced oven and grease lamington cake tin or two standard 20cm round cake tins.

2. Separate eggs and beat egg whites until thick and then add castor sugar.

3. When sugar is dissolved, beat in egg yolks. Continue beating until thick and frothy.

4. Add triple sifted flour, cornflour and baking powder. Fold into mixture with a large spoon.

5. Heat milk and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Gently add to mix. Do not add all at once as mixture must not be too “runny”.

6. Pour into greased lamington cake tin and cook for approximately 20 minutes and carefully remove from cake tin immediately.

Serve with passionfruit icing or strawberries and whipped cream. Add a tablespoon of sifted icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla for an authentic “country” cream.

Tastes Great Mate (That’s Australian for Bon Appetit!)

xx Rowena

PS: I should point out that when I tipped the sponge out of the tin, it stuck to the wire rack. It might have needed just that extra minute longer but the cake was beautifully moist and tasted superb!

PPS: If you read back to my post about making Mum’s Creme Caramel, you can understand why I was concerned about things getting stuck! Here’s The Queen Caramel Queen:

22 thoughts on “Shark-Eaten Sponge Cake.

  1. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Terri. I’m not a huge fan of Sponge Cake either but this recipe is moist, sweet and you can taste the egg…not cornflour! My Dad says that most sponges are made with powdered egg. This is perhaps a bigger put down than being a packet mix! Dad is very particular!

  2. roweeee Post author

    Tom, you had me in stitches thinking about putting Vegemite on a sponge cake. That’s even worse that my family hacking through it like starving sharks.
    I read an interesting post yesterday about the differences between scones, biscuits and cookies in England and America. It was very enlightening. You don’t want to get them mixed up!
    Rum cake sounds good to me as well, especially after the crazy train trip I had with my kids yesterday. My daughte r was on some sort crazed sugar high along with the excitement of going to my parents’ place and it was scary. Very pleased to drop off and head home!

  3. roweeee Post author

    The Sponge is an interesting beast. I will go back and add not to open the oven door until it’s looking done and there are all sorts of stories about not jumping around while sponges are cooking as well. They are what you’d call “delicate”. That said, it was easy.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Monika. I’ve had quite a few comments on that pic. I’ve posted quite a few photos of my daughter lately and I thought it was looking like the boy didn’t exist.

  5. New Journey

    Wish I could read his mind….licking the plate, enjoying the last taste of home, mom’s cooking, tasting the flavor of all the women before you who made the same cake….love it….I really liked the indentations of the wire rack on the sponge too….gave it a special look…I copied the recipe down word for word…my husband loves sponge cake and his birthday is next week so I will surprise him and make it with fresh whip cream and berries….thank’s for sharing…XX kathy

  6. roweeee Post author

    That’s so exciting Kathy. You’ll have to post it. I did add a bit about not opening the oven door during cooking today nad I think the top should be just a bit darker than that one before you take it out. I think it needed an extra minute or two but no more.
    I baked a cake for my Dad tonight and doubled it so there was one for us too. While it was cooking, Geoff asked me if I was watching the cake and I replied: “I can’t smell it yet. I cook by smell”. My husband tends to cook by the timer, something I didn’t realise until I stuffed the timer up on him once and he was lost. To be fair to him though he doesn’t get to cook very often and it’s over 14 years since he was looking after himself regularly. xx Ro

  7. New Journey

    Love it, my husband to cooks only by timers….goodness don’t take the hot water out of the microwave 2 seconds early as the timer didn’t stop…LOL he sets the timer on the stove for everything….somethimes he hears it other times it goes off for ever….he has hearing aides and they don’t alwsy register that sound…I too cook with smell, I do glance at the clock when I start something but it more about smell and how it looks than by time….I make bread and no 2 loaves are the same…ever!!! thanks again for sharing family recipes….they are always the best….XXkat

  8. roweeee Post author

    You’re welcome, Kat. It’s funny how you think you’re the only person or people on the planet which do something a certain way and then hey presto, you’re part of a crowd. It can be very reassuring! xx Ro

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  10. Minuscule Moments

    Rowena I don’t have what it takes to bake sponge cake but my dear neighbour (when we lived up the central Coast) use to make the best sponge ever. She used eight eggs and that is all she would tell us because it was her secret recipe. So good it never needed icing either.

  11. roweeee Post author

    I think the secret with most things is to see someone else make it and then you know what each step is supposed to look like and can adjust if necessary as you go. This is much easier to pull off when you learn to cook growing up at home, although that could work both ways with a bad cook in the house. We’ve just returned from staying at Newrybar near Byron Bay with Geoff’s sister etc. It was an unbelievable week and I’ve got so much to write up for the blog. No internet access and my laptop is still dead so loads of handwritten notes as well as photos on multiple devices to sort out. How did the holidays go for you? Hope well. Take care and best wishes,

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