Sometimes you just can't beat a lovely light and airy sponge cake.
- 190 g butter at room temperature, chopped
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1½ cups plain flour
- ¾ cup cornflour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 6 egg whites
- 1–2 drops rose-pink food colouring
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 10 g butter
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- few drops of rose-pink food colouring
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.
1. Preheat the oven to low (150°C). Grease a 20 cm round, deep cake tin. Line the base of the tin with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in the small bowl of an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Gradually add half the milk to help dissolve the sugar, and beat well. Beat in the vanilla. Transfer to a larger bowl.
3. Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together three times. Fold into the butter mixture, then add the remaining milk (don’t worry if it appears curdled at this stage).
4. In another bowl, use clean beaters to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold half the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
5. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a smaller bowl, and stir in the drops of food colouring. Take about ¾ cup of the white mixture, and spread over the base of the tin. Take half the pink batter, and spoon it in a ring about 1 cm in from the edge of the tin – it should be about 1–1½ cm wide.
6. Very carefully spread half the remaining white batter over, taking care not to disturb the pink ring. Spoon the remaining pink batter into the centre of the tin, making a round of about 8 cm. Spoon the rest of the white batter over the whole top, again taking care not to disturb the pink round.
7. Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, until the cake is springy to a gentle touch in the centre and comes away from the sides of the tin. It may appear slightly cracked in the centre but should settle on cooling. (If not, gently press the top at with your fingertips.) Turn out onto a clean tea towel-lined with a sheet of baking paper. Leave to cool.
8. To make the icing, combine the ingredients until smooth. Spread over the top of the cooled cake, and leave to set.