Butter cake with jam and cream

All the entries prepare to be judged for the Sponge Cake Challenge. . (Georgia Wilson)This is the recipe I made for the 666 ABC Canberra sponge cake bake off. I’d never made a sponge cake before you see, so it didn’t quite turn out a winner. But it was truly delicious. I’ve never been a fan of the sponge cake actually. The chemistry, or is it physics, of the sponge cake are impressive – the lightness of a cake that will fully return its shape if you stick your finger in it. But sponge cakes are dry, and so often tasteless. Often I find they are made with artificial vanilla too, which I find abhorrent. So I set about making a cake that I thought was worthy of a local radio competition. It didn’t turn out at all spongy, but was still light, and was incredibly tasty. I think in fact it was more of an old fashioned butter cake, served with jam and cream like a sponge, with icing sugar shaken on top. They wanted the competitors to share their baking tips and I’d already identified the key points to my cake.

  1. Use fresh, free-range eggs
  2. Butter must be at room temperature (as should all the other ingredients)
  3. I don’t use an electric mixer – if it was good enough for my grandma, it’s good enough for me
  4. Use your favourite home-made jam, fresh cream and real vanilla

I have some dear friends on the Tasman Peninsular in Tasmania, they have a great Bed & Breakfast called Norfolk Bay Convict Station. They make great jams and conserves and I used their incredibly thick and wonderful Loganberry Jam in this recipe. I weighed out all the ingredients for the batter equally, and beat them like crazy with a wooden spoon. I don’t know if I’m just being silly, so feel free to use your mixer, but I like the idea. Besides, it’s a good way to work off the calories you’ll consume when you eat your cake!

For the sponge

4 eggs
250 grams (approx) butter
1 1/2 cups (approx) caster sugar
2 cups (approx) SR flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

To decorate

1/3 cup berry jam
300 millilitres cream for whipping
1 tablespoon icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Tare the scales with a small bowl on top. Crack the eggs into the bowl and weigh them. Weigh out the same amount of self raising flour, butter and caster sugar. Beat the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat till combined and light. Gently fold in the flour till combined. Grease and line a 23 cm cake tin. Pour in the cake batter and bake for approximately 40 minutes, till a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove from the tin, and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice the cake into two. Melt the jam a little and spread evenly all over the bottom half of the cake, ensuring it goes all the way to the edge. Whip the cream till stiff peaks form. Spread the cream atop the jam all the way to the edge. Gently place the top half of the cake atop the bottom and press to affix them together. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on top. Slice and serve at room temperature.

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