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Cake of Monday: Grandma’s Sponge

 

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We'll need a trip to Auntie Narelle and the return of my Dad to fact-check this, but I'm pretty certain this is it. This is the champion sponge. It's incredibly light, it's got flavour, and it's moist. It's everything you want in a sponge (if you take them as seriously as I do) and obviously I really need to get out more but heck this sponge is exciting. EXCITING. 

 

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Thanks for all your input you lovely folk, particularly those who took the time to locate and email links. Auntie Narelle also located some of Grandma's recipes and copied and posted them to me, confirming the Fielder's Sponge suspicion. Does it really need a particular brand of cornflour? I don't know. I'll inevitably try it with a different brand because we buy in cornflour to make the Buena Vista Farm egg custard and it's not Fielder's. I went and bought the right stuff (our IGA stocked it) in honour of Grandma who was obviously brand loyal for a reason. (I hasten to say there is nothing at all sponsored about this post!! I'm not going to come over all Rolling's Reliable, I promise!! … And if you get that reference we're soulmates for life you and I.) 

Anyway, it's delicious. As I made it, it rang bells. Oh YES. The triple sifting, I remember that. Actually, as I got to the end, I remembered why I stopped making sponge cakes in favour of other cakes all those years ago. It creates so many dishes! When you've got delightful butter cakes or orange cakes which have similar nuances and you've only got one bowl to wash up after, you've got to really really love the sponge to keep it on top of the list. 

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I'll stop pursuing the sponge for now. Although I will make a trip to Auntie Narelle with one soon, and I'll make one for Dad when he gets back from tripping around the country. 

Maybe one day in the faraway future someone will turn up at my door with my Mum's passionfruit shortcake, a very long time after she'd last made it for me. Food is evocative. I'd cherish every bite. Because a cake is never just a cake, particularly when it's someone's signature. It's a sweet reminder of kitchen hours and bowl lickings and tea time treats. 

I hope you make this, and love it, and that someone else washes up. 

 

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Grandma's Sponge (AKA Fielder's Famous Sponge Cake)

Ingredients 

3 eggs (separated) 

pinch salt 

¼ teaspoon vanilla essence 

½ cup castor sugar 

⅔ cup cornflour 

1 slightly rounded tablespoon plain flour 

1 level teaspoon baking powder 

Method 

Pre-heat oven to 190°C.  Grease, flour and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.

Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. 

Gradually beat in sugar, a little at a time, then continue beating until stiff. 

Add egg yolks and vanilla essence, beat until combined. 

Sift together 3 times – cornflour, plain flour and baking powder, then add to egg mixture.  

Carefully and lightly fold mixture together using a wooden spoon or spatula. Do not stir. 

Divide batter evenly between two pans and bake 18-20 minutes. 

 

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Notes: I didn't fill mine with cream as I had none handy, and just used jam. I was in a bit of a hurry to get out the door with Adam to pick up kids from school and continue onto Berry and Nowra to deliver boxes eggs to restaurants and pick up a hired ute to do the chicken run tomorrow (meat birds going to the abattoir). It's a racy script. The photo's were taken in a thirty second window and whacked into a container to placate hungry kids on the drive. I don't recall Grandma typically using fresh cream, and in the clipped-together recipes Auntie Narelle sent, there was a 'mock cream' recipe of 3oz butter + 3oz sugar + 1 tbsp hot water which is what I remember being her sponge filling.

I'll ask Dad, I'm sure he'll know. 

xxx

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27 Comments on “Cake of Monday: Grandma’s Sponge

Sarahb
May 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

This looks just like my Granny’s fat-free sponge that she used to make in Yorkshire! Now I’m on the hunt for her recipe – thanks for reminding me of the memory 🙂 x

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Karen
May 14, 2013 at 3:53 am

Oh, your Rollings Reliable reference made my heart smile….way over here in Indiana! Enjoy your hard-sought find. I have recipes from my grandmother’s collection in Finland that we translated and treasure. Such fun.

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Jodie
May 14, 2013 at 7:00 am

Well done Super-Cake-Sleuth! I can’t wait to give it a go as NOTHING beats a good sponge, the unchallenged king of cakes!

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Ania
May 14, 2013 at 7:41 am

Soulmates indeed 🙂 Thanks for the recipe, just in time for the little man’s birthday tomorrow!

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Just Joyful
May 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

Sponges have always been scary to me. For some reason, I think of them as difficult to make successfully. Maybe I’ll try this one, though, as so many people love it (and I do love a good sponge).

But then I’m still getting used to the oven in my new place, so that adds another level of difficulty!

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Chris
May 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

It’s almost gluten free. I may try this recipe, subbing the plain flour for rice flour and see how it turns out. Looks very yummy though!

Not sure if this is of any use, but when I was working in a bakery, we put the tops of the sponge facing the inside (where the filling goes) as it gives a lovely flat top and bottom. Your cake looks perfectly fine the way it is, but thought I’d throw a tip in if anyone can use it.

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Katie Lee
May 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm

You still sound a bit doubtful about the cake, especially the filling. Trust your aunt, especially as she has sent you the recipes…I don’t think I would wait to compare with your dad. Does he have a recipe to compare to? Did he talk with his mum about such things? Curious to know as men of that era seemed to be left out of those conversations when they were children. The kitchen was the woman’s domain, back then. So glad those days are long gone! By the way, what on earth is mock cream? KL

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Merryl Chantrell
May 15, 2013 at 6:12 am

You made it. Well done Fiona. Now that’s a cake that the CWA would be proud of 🙂

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Alison
May 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

Hello lovely friend, we are smiling right now from a long way from home, enjoying your sponge cake delight, wishing we were there to make you a passionfruit shortcake (recipe from Gerringong Mayflower Cookbook!). Ruby and I are your “Rolling’s Reliable” friends, oh! joyful, joyful book! Love to Adam and children, Ali and Ruby xx

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Tania
May 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

YES! You inspired me with your last post and I managed to track down the Fielder’s recipe and made the cake for Mother’s Day. I filled it with raspberry jam and cream, dusted it with icing sugar, and everyone loved it. I was a little nervous trying an untested recipe for a special occasion but it truly is the best sponge cake ever!

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Natalie
May 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/161321/Fielders_1b.pdf

Sorry if I’ve missed something and you’ve already come across this or it isn’t the right one but I found this Fielders Recipe Book online and it has a sponge cake recipe.
I’m off to IGA now especially to buy some Fielders Cornflour!

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Colleen
May 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

Thank you, thank you thank you for the mock cream recipe…….I have been looking through all of my mum’s old cookbooks trying to find the recipe she used for mock cream. I remember as a kid I preferred her mock cream to the real stuff and always begged her to just use that instead of the real thing when I was a kid. I loved it!! Anyway after she passed away last year I realised that I never did get her recipe and after looking through all the books she had I had come to the conclusion that it was something that she just knew. Your recipe has made lights flash and sirens blaze in my head lol. That was her recipe 3, 3, 1 I remember her telling me now. I may be trying out the sponge this weekend, complete with the cream!!!! Its going to be such a hard weekend lol,,,yummy!

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kristin
May 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

You surely don’t mean ANNE’s Rolling’s Reliable, do you?? (Well, I guess she really wouldn’t want it termed ‘hers,’ would she?) So glad you found the right recipe at last! And I do believe I’ll have to try making it, even though here in Oregon State, there’s not a snowball’s chance that our grocery will stock Fielders. Hopefully dear Argo will suffice. And I, with Katie Lee, want to know what mock cream is? Like really, literally, mock whipped cream? You must fill an ignorant American in! There is nothing better than discovering a new favorite thing from a faraway place! Love your blog, as always. kristin

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Ania
May 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Best. Sponge. Ever.

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N Plejic
May 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

I very rarely comment on blogs, but I have been following yours for a while having stumbled upon it when searching for a cookie cutter recipe. Well, the pictures you posted of the sponge cake inspired me and as I type my husband and our aussie friend (we live in London) are polishing off the one I just whipped up. Thanks so much for sharing the recipes.

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:40 am

THAT is a FAB tip!! My sponge looked wonky, even Ivy commented. Flat top with some icing sugar, that’d be the trick. Thanks Chris!

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

I know, what on earth?! It’s basically sweet butter frosting I guess, you just mix up 3oz butter + 3oz sugar + 1 tbsp hot water and you get this spreadable ‘cream’ which goes in the middle of sponge cakes and shortcakes! Mmmmm, shortcake.

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:43 am

You just made my day. Miss you. Lots of love xxx

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hello Anne-friend! As above, it’s basically sweet butter frosting, you just mix up 3oz butter + 3oz sugar + 1 tbsp hot water and you get a spreadable ‘cream’. Perfect for the middle of cakes!

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:44 am

YAAAAAYYYY!!!! Happy birthday to your wee dude. Wonderful xxx

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innerpickle
May 17, 2013 at 7:45 am

Oh hooray! Thanks, and enjoy! x

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Penny Pincher
May 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I was waiting to see what you came up with as I couldn’t imagine a cake with so much cornflour. And three siftings? I’ve done two before and thought that was dedicated! I am going to HAVE to try it, it looks perfect. Might skip the mock cream though! Thanks for sharing.

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June
May 18, 2013 at 12:21 am

Memories of childhood and cooking with my Aunty Maisie who made the best sponge cakes! Now all you have to do is find the recipe for Chocolate Cake which was on the Bourneville Cocoa Packet around the late 60’s, and the recipe for peanut biscuits which had raw peanuts, and both plain and self raising flour which was from Molly Dye’s column in the Sunday Telegraph about the same time and I will be in recipe heaven. I used to call these biscuits “door stops” because they were quite hard, but my husband’s favourite. I lost these three recipes in a move, grrrr! Jenny and Rachel were known to have the odd biscuit or two at our house. More memories.

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Mrs Homespun
May 21, 2013 at 11:32 am

I think it makes us bosom friends not soul mates!

xoxo

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Bianca
May 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

I will be making a sponge from your / your grandma’s / fielder’s sponge recipe, thank you! Mock cream is used in place of fresh cream in anything. My grandma loved the stuff. I have such fond memories (and treasured recipes) of grandma’s sweet specialties that all used mock cream – neenish tarts, chocolate eclairs and match sticks! Grandma insisted on using castor not icing sugar and also added some milk at the end of the beating.

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Izabela
June 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Love English sweets and cake xxxxxx

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Kerry
October 30, 2014 at 2:56 am

This is the recipe I’ve been looking for! I’ve made it before in times of surplus eggs and butter shortages and it’s the best. But I’ve got confused and have an Easy Sponge Cake half finished in the kitchen. It was when I realised that recipe didn’t ask me to sift the flour three times that I realised I was on the wrong track. Still the chickens have been good to us this week, so I might make one of these too. Thank you for sharing your lovely cake recipes!

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