Vanilla Sponge Sheet for Layered Cakes

Perfect for a layered cake, this is a light sponge with a mild flavour, allowing the fillings to get their deserved spotlight. I also use this to make two 15cm sqaure cakes which I then turn into nine 9cm square cakes for High Tea sessions. For that purpose I slice the cake horizontally in half to create extra thin layers. The picture shows the lemon layer squares I made for a birthday buffet.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 200gr sugar
  • 140ml milk (150gr)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200gr flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

Makes enough for a 24cm cake with four cake layers, or two 15cm sqaure cakes with four very thin layers each.

Recipe:

Line the bottom of four 24cm springform tins with baking paper. Alternatively, use two springform tins and bake for a bit longer.
If making rectangular cakes; line two swiss roll pans (mine are 23 x 33cm) with baking paper, but leave the paper to stick out a little bit to make it easier to remove it from the pans later.

Whip up the egg yolks with the sugar until very light and foamy, for around 3 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla extract to the beating yolks and whip for 7 more minutes, so a total of 10 minutes. This sounds like a lot but it definitely creates the lightest result.

Combine the flour and baking powder. Gently – yes I mean very gently – fold the flour mixture into the foamy eggs. The gentler you are, the lighter the result will be.
Whip up the egg whites until soft peaks and gently fold those into the batter. Work gently to incorporate the whites fully without losing too much air. Slow and steady wins the race.

Pour the batter into the baking tins. Try to spread it out as much as possible by pouring, that way you don’t need to touch it so much afterwards. First, tip the tin to distribute the batter, and if that doesn’t work well enough, use a spatula to gently spread the batter around. Try to work it as little as possible.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes on 180°C.
When finished, the edges will have somewhat shrunk away from the sides and the center is light and bouncy.

Remove the cakes from their tins and leave to cool. The tops will be a bit sticky and may stick to whatever touches it. Don’t worry about that though, as you fill it, nobody will see, but the cakes will be nice and moist.

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