Our Favourite Sponge Cake
This is one of the best cake recipes we know. Another version of it is available elsewhere but for a much larger cake.
This one has been scaled down to less epic proportions! It can be made as a plain vanilla sponge too, so is pretty flexible. And you can dust the top with sieved icing sugar - or make a basic sugar icing for a topping, plus any decorations you like. If you haven't come across the use of flax meal (ground linseeds) in vegan baking, it's really worth checking out.
1 tbps of flax meal mixed with a little cold water makes the equivalent of one egg - it helps to bind the cake nicely. Buy it ready-ground from large supermarkets (eg Sainsbury) or cheaper still, grind your own in small quantities. Use a spice or coffee grinder and store in the fridge or other cool, dark place. The rest can be sprinkled on cereal etc for an Omega 3 boost! (Heating destroys these qualities so the cake doesn't cut it!).
- 175g vegan margarine
- 175g caster sugar
- 330g white SR flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 330g (2/3 large tub) plain vegan yoghurt
- 1 tbsp flax meal (see above) mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
- zest of 1 lemon plus juice
- 1-2 tsp lemon essence (to taste)
- A little plant milk (eg rice, soya) if batter too thick
- Buttercream icing: 150g sieved icing sugar mixed with 75g marg + lemon or vanilla essence to flavour
- Strawberry, raspberry or apricot jam to spread across one of the cakes
Topping: lemon or vanilla icing
- 150g icing sugar
- 1-2 drops of baking glycerine
- 1/2-1 tsp lemon or vanilla essence
- Hot water
- Decorations, eg vegan chocolate drops, fruit pieces, silver balls, stars etc.... we found lots that were vegan but check the packaging! Goody Good sweets (the vegan range) are a quick and easy option.
- Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl
- Add the glycerine and flavouring - use the minimum and add more if necessary.
- Mix in the hot water a little at a time to make a thick paste.
- Using a rubber spatula, spread the icing over the top of the cooled cake carefully.
- Dip the spatula into a jug of hot water first for each spreading. Decorate as you wish - or not!
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 (NB. Reduce this if using a fan-assisted oven). Now grease two15cm/6 inch or 18cm/7 inch cake tins and line their bases with greaseproof paper - use the round base to draw a circle out on the greaseproof then cut out with scissors.
2. Make the buttercream icing: Mix the sieved icing sugar and margarine together plus flavouring. Use a fork and mix until creamy. Cover and chill until it is needed.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine then add the sugar. Mix in well till the sugar has partially dissolved. Set aside.
4. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add salt. Pour the margarine/sugar mixture, yoghurt, flax egg and lemon essence to the flour mix. Mix well until you get a soft dropping consistency. Add the lemon zest plus as much of the lemon juice as you can without making the batter too runny. If it needs more liquid, add a splash of plant milk, eg soya, rice, coconut or oat.
5. Spoon the cake mix into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and golden. Test by inserting a sharp knife or toothpick into the centre of each cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not, return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their tins. Carefully place them upside down on a cooling rack. Allow to cool a bit more before carefully spreading the jam evenly on one side of the cake. To fill the cake, spread the buttercream icing on the base of the other cake and put the cakes together like a sandwich. To ice the top of the cake, make the icing as above, spread it on the cake then decorate as desired