This sponge will have you wanting an excuse to make afternoon tea every day. There are two main tricks when making a sponge: don’t over-whisk the mixture once you have added the flour – only whisk it until the mixture is just combined. Also, sponges don’t take long to bake and, if overcooked, will easily become dry, so keep a close eye on them when baking.
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) thickened cream
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) fresh passionfruit pulp
- melted butter, to grease
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) milk
- 20 g butter
- 110 g (¾ cup) self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
- 30 g (¼ cup) cornflour
- 180 g (1½ cup) pure icing sugar
- 1½ tbsp fresh passionfruit pulp
- approx. 3 tsp boiling water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the sponge layers, place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and then preheat it to 180°C. Brush 2 x 20 cm shallow (sandwich) cake tins with a little melted butter to lightly grease. Line the bases with circles of baking paper. Lightly brush the paper with a little more melted butter and then dust the bases and sides of the tins with a little flour to lightly coat, tapping out any excess.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed to whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is very thick and pale (this will take about 8 minutes). Lift the whisk out of the mixture and draw a figure eight, if the trail stays on the surface long enough for you to finish drawing, then the mixture is ready. If not, continue to whisk for a further minute and then test again.
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, just until the butter melts. Remove from the heat. Sift the flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture. Immediately pour the warm milk mixture down the side of the bowl and whisk again with the electric mixer briefly, until the flour mixture is just incorporated (be careful not to overmix).
Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins (see Baker’s tips) and gently tap the tins on the benchtop 3 times to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cakes are a pale golden colour, spring back when lightly touched in the centre, and start pulling away from the sides of the tins. Remove from the oven and stand for 2 minutes before turning onto a wire rack, top-side up (see Baker’s tips), to cool completely.
To make the passionfruit icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the passionfruit pulp and enough boiling water to mix to a thin, spreadable icing. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a balloon whisk to whisk the cream in a medium mixing bowl until firm peaks form. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold the passionfruit pulp through the whipped cream until just swirled through. Place one layer of the sponge on a serving plate or cake stand and spread with the passionfruit cream. Top with the remaining sponge layer. Spread the passionfruit icing evenly over the top layer of the sponge, allowing it to drip down the sides slightly. Set aside for 20 minutes or until the icing sets before serving in slices.
• You will need about 5 large passionfruit for this recipe.
• To divide the mixture evenly between the tins, weigh the tins with the mixture in them to make sure they are the same.
• When removing the cakes from the tins, turn them onto a wire rack covered with a tea towel before inverting onto another rack. The tea towel will prevent the rack marking the tops of the cakes.
• The unfilled sponge cakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. Once filled, the cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Kristine Duran-Thiessen. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Sponge cake.