Gluten-Free Victoria Sponge

The Victoria Sponge is the quintessential British cake, resplendent in any village tea shop worth their salt. Fluffy vanilla sponge, generously filled with raspberry jam and a light buttercream. The surface is broadly undecorated but sprinkled liberally with a crunch of caster sugar. A Victoria Sponge is effortlessly versatile and can be called upon for any occasion.

A gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake on a glass cake stand on a wooden board

This recipe is a classic recipe from the blog which previously appeared as a wheat cake. I have updated the recipe to a delicious gluten-free version and given clarity to the method.

What is a Victoria Sponge?

Victoria Sponge is a lovely easy cake to bake, consisting of two circular sponges made with a few simple ingredients. The sponges are sandwiched together with a hearty helping of raspberry jam. The buttercream filling is optional but I feel very necessary and the surface of the cake is sprinkled liberally with caster sugar.

Why is a Victoria Sponge called a Victoria Sponge?

The cake is named after Queen Victoria who wasn’t allowed sweet treats in her youth but certainly made up for it with gusto in her later years.

Previously sponge cakes had been quite leaden affairs until the invention of baking powder in 1843. The baking powder gave this new Victoria Sponge cake unprecedented height and airiness.

A gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake on a glass cake stand on a wooden board with a spoon of caster sugar in front

Victoria Sponge and The Women’s Institute

The Women’s Institute, which is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK, is famous for raising funds through their cake stalls. And you can guarantee there will be a Victoria Sponge sitting resplendent at one of their events. However if you really want to make a proper WI approved Victoria Sponge then you may want to take a glance at their handbook. They are fastidious about the rules and regulations of a true Victoria Sponge.

The WI have exact specifications on the correct method for baking, the required number of eggs, the unquestionable flavour of jam and which sugar you should choose for dusting. So it’s here that I confess that this Victoria Sponge will be going a little off-piste.

For starters, I’m not sure the WI will forgive me for offering a gluten-free version of their beloved cake in the first place. However, as a lapsed member, and indeed ex-President, of our local WI that doesn’t mean I don’t adhere to a few of the rules, the ones I deem most important.

How to make the Perfect Victoria Sponge

There are few ingredients in a Victoria Sponge so there is no room here for cutting corners.

Butter. Not margarine – ever! The butter should be creamed into your caster sugar until pale, light and fluffy. There is no place here for the all-in-one method and the end results will speak for themselves.

Top Tip: The most nutritious butter for the job is the product of grass-fed cows which are loaded with Vitamin K2 and for that local butter is your best bet. If you can’t buy your butter from local grass-fed cows then Kerrygold butter is the next best thing, found in most supermarkets and is about 90% grass-fed.

Eggs. Find the best eggs you can from a local supplier, if you know the hen’s name, all the better. This recipe uses medium sized eggs.

Burford Brown eggs from Clarence Court are the superior supermarket egg. Their yolks are custard yellow and creamy, creating a rich and very flavourful addition to your sponge.

Gluten-Free Tip: The WI insists that only three eggs should be used but as we are using gluten-free flours we need more rise, more liquid and more binding power so here we use four.

Do I need to weigh my eggs?

The traditional method of measuring out the ingredients for a Victoria Sponge is to weigh the eggs first, in their shells, then use that measurement to know how much butter, sugar and flour to use. However if you use four medium sized eggs (which are between 53g-63g each in their shells) then you can’t go wrong with using 240g butter, 240g sugar and 240g total flours.

Gluten-Free Flour. The Victoria Sponge should be a very accessible cake so let’s not concern ourselves with complicated flour blends. I advocate here for a plain gluten-free flour. Any brand will do.

Almond Flour. Don’t tell the WI. Since we are using a supermarket gluten-free flour then we need a bit more moisture to avoid a dry and crumbly cake. Almond flour gives the cake a beautifully tender crumb which will hold together well. Plus the gentle scent of almonds gives the cake a little more depth.

Can I use ground almonds instead of almond flour?

Why yes, you can. The texture will be a little more nubby if you use ground almonds, a little denser and not quite as fluffy. But still delicious and is a fine substitute.

Vanilla Extract. Always vanilla extract please and never vanilla essence which is a chemically made ingredient with a very saccharine and shallow vanilla taste. The addition of vanilla in a Victoria Sponge is not obligatory but it gives the cake such a beautiful pure flavour.

Whole Milk. The addition of milk to loosen the batter is not a WI approved ingredient but it certainly makes for a creamier and lighter sponge, especially since gluten-free cakes need more moisture. Only two tablespoons are required to be added at the end of the mixing stage but it really makes all the difference.

A gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake on a glass cake stand on a wooden board

How can you achieve a level cake?

Digital scales are your best friend here and they allow you to weigh your batter so both cake layers are exactly the same height and weight.

  1. Before filling your greased and lined cake tins with the prepared cake batter, place one of them onto the scales, set to zero then pour in about half of the batter.
  2. Remove from the scales, put the other cake tin on the scales and set to zero again.
  3. Add the other half of the batter, making sure it weighs exactly the same amount as the first tin.
  4. Once you have equal weights of batter in your tins and you have smoothed them out then they are ready for the oven.

How long does it take to bake a Victoria Sponge cake?

Gluten-free cakes should be baked low and slow. Gluten-free flours brown and crisp more readily than wheat flours so you want to make sure the outside and inside cook evenly.

This cake is baked at 160°C for about 30 minutes which helps protect the cake and ensure an even bake.

How do I turn out my cake to avoid rack marks?

Since a Victoria Sponge is only decorated with a sprinkle of caster sugar, every imperfection on the surface of the cake is visible. Plus if you do want to abide by the WI’s rules then the surface of your cake must not be marred by the criss cross pattern of your cooling rack.

Luckily we have an advantage in that the gluten-free flours provide the cake with a more sturdy crust so you should be fine turning it out as usual.

However, if you don’t want to take any chances then follow these instructions:

  1. Leave your cake to cool in the tin for five minutes exactly.
  2. Run a small palette knife around the edges of your cake which should have come away from the edges of the tin anyway.
  3. Get as close as possible to your cooling rack then turn the cake gently out into your hand so you are holding the surface of the cake for just a moment. At exactly the same time use your other hand to thrust the cake tin aside and quickly place your cooling rack to the underside of the cake, flipping over with caution.
  4. Leave the cake to cool on the rack.

Perhaps don’t try this on your first Victoria Sandwich attempt as broken cakes can be very upsetting.

A slice of gluten-free Victoria Sponge cake on a plate on a wooden board

What jam should I use for my Victoria Sponge?

Any jam you have to hand will be delicious, especially if it’s homemade. Buuuttt… Again, my contemporaries at the WI are not so casual about the choice of jam. They insist the only true jam for a Victoria Sponge is raspberry jam. Also it is important to use a nice thickly set jam. You can warm it up in the saucepan slightly to aid in spreadability. However if your jam is too loose there is a high chance it will spill out when you place the second cake layer on top.

If you need any further inspiration for jam ideas then why not try these recipes:
Raspberry Coconut Jam
Strawberry Redcurrant Jam
Wild Blackberry Lime Jam
Pear Cobnut Jam
Gooseberry Thyme Jam

Which cream do you use for a Victoria Sponge?

Gosh, now we are entering some choppy waters. The WI does not like their Victoria Sponge filled with fresh cream or buttercream. Instead they prefer the jam to sit uninterrupted in the middle of the cake. Delicious? Of course. But you know what would be more delicious? That’s right, buttercream.

Close-up of buttercream

Any sort of fancy swiss meringue, boiled icing, French-this, Italian-that or even fresh cream is not the thing for our schoolmarm of a cake. We need straightforward butter plus icing sugar and that-is-that buttercream.

The buttercream adds moisture to this sturdy sponge and also gives the jam a bit of a helping hand in the luxury department. There is nothing better than a squidgy piece of Victoria Sponge oozing with jam and buttercream. Without buttercream is far too austere for this baker.

How do you make buttercream icing?

The rule of thumb for the easiest buttercream is equal amounts icing sugar and unsalted butter. Beat these two lovebirds on high for 5-10 minutes and you will achieve the lightest fluffiest buttercream. It will pipe like a dream and melt in the mouth. For creaminess add a dash of whole milk. Then for flavour add a drop of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Icing or caster sugar for dusting?

Ha! Use icing sugar at your peril. I am in complete agreement with the WI that caster sugar is the only sugar to use here. It glistens on the top and adds crunch, a most welcome texture.

A slice of gluten-free Victoria Sponge cake on a plate with a bite taken out on a wooden board

Can you freeze a Victoria Sponge?

Yes! It freezes very well but I would recommend to freeze the two sponge layers separately before decorating. Wrap them well in cling film then tin foil. To defrost remove from the freezer the night before. Allow to defrost overnight then unwrap and assemble as usual.

I don’t recommend freezing the cake already filled with the jam and buttercream. You will not be able to wrap the cake up tightly enough and it will run the risk of freezer-burn.

Gluten-Free Sponge Tip:

Gluten-free flours can brown and crisp easily in the oven. So you might find your Gluten-Free Victoria Sponge has a bit of an unnecessary crust on the sponge layers. This is slightly at odds with the soft and fluffy personality of a Victoria Sponge. I suggest making the cake a day in advance and storing the cake in tupperware. This means the cake crusts softens and achieves a much better texture.

Making the whole cake in advance also leads to the best bit about a Victoria Sponge. After a day the jam starts to sink into the sponge which gives it the most lovely squidgy texture.

The simplicity and importance of a Victoria Sponge at teatime cannot be stressed enough. It is the cake I cannot possibly refuse and the one which is always the first to fly off of every single WI cake stall I have ever managed. It is a perfect cake.

Like this recipe? Then you may like these other gluten-free cakes:
Cherry Cake
Vinegar Cake
Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins

If you make this Gluten-Free Victoria Sponge then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Victoria Sponge

The Victoria Sponge is the quintessential British cake suitable for any occasion. Fluffy vanilla sponge, generously filled with raspberry jam and buttercream.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Keyword: how to make a gluten-free victoria sponge
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 686kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 240 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 240 g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 120 g gluten-free flour see notes below
  • 120 g almond flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 175 g raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar for sprinkling at the end

Buttercream

  • 200 g icing sugar
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan assisted/gas mark 3 and line and grease 2 x round 8 inch x 4 inch cake tins.
  • Cream the butter and sugar on a high speed in a food mixer for about 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and mix until completely incorporated, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Sieve the gluten-free flour with the almond flour, baking powder and salt in separate mixing bowl, then add into the food mixer. Beating until well combined.
  • Stir in the milk to lighten the batter then divide the batter equally between the two cake tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to settle for 5 minutes in their tins, then turn out onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely before assembly.

Buttercream

  • Beat the icing sugar with the unsalted butter for up to 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  • Add the whole milk, vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.

Assembly

  • Take one of your sponges and slather the raspberry jam very evenly over the surface, spreading to the edge.
  • For an even layer of buttercream, fill a piping bag with the buttercream fitted with a large plain round piping tip. Pipe concentric circles over the top of the jam then use a small palette knife to gently even it out.
  • Place the second sponge carefully on the top of the buttercream and sprinkle the caster sugar evenly over the surface.

Notes

  • I used Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain White Flour which doesn’t contain any xanthan gum. However if your blend does contain xanthan gum then that will work fine too.
  • Ground almonds are a good substitute if you can’t get hold of almond flour.
  • Use the best quality jam you can find. I recommend Bonne Maman for the best supermarket option.
  • The finished cake keeps well in a cool dark place, out of the refrigerator, for up to four days.

Nutrition

Calories: 686kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 23.9% | Vitamin C: 1.9% | Calcium: 8.2% | Iron: 8.1%

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A gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake on a glass cake stand on a wooden board

Gluten-Free Flour: An Introduction

Welcome to the introduction of a series in which I’m going to investigate gluten-free flour. From sorghum to sweet rice flour to teff to that useful bag of supermarket gluten-free all purpose flour. I’m going to delve into each and every one over the next few months so if you want to learn a bit more about gluten-free baking then pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and we’ll begin.

The Definitive Guide To Gluten-Free Flours

I had a conversation with a friend recently who was asking my advice on a gluten-free cake she wanted to serve to a friend who was coeliac. During our chat she mentioned that she had also recently found out she was gluten intolerant whilst she was investigating some health issues she was having but was terrified of what this would mean and was putting off a diet change because of the upheaval.

Oh so familiar. I was fully aware of my gluten intolerance for several years before making the total commitment. I was gluten-free in all aspects of my life except for baking, which is kind of an important subject for me. I couldn’t get passed my pre-conceptions about gluten-free cakes which seemed to be either crumbly, pasty, too sweet or loaded with buttercream to mask their flaws. In my experience they were far inferior to the wheat cakes I knew and loved. So I ate cake and suffered the consequences.

Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle

Then, fully intending to push my luck, I decided to dive full on into my love of baking and start a cake business. Herein lies the trouble. I was completely betraying my body. I was eating gluten more than ever and getting sicker and sicker. Then a couple of years ago I read Alice Medrich’s Flavour Flours and to say the book changed my life is not giving it too much credit. Turns out there is more to gluten-free baking than just whipping out Dove’s gluten-free plain flour blend and hoping for the best.

Caramelised Mango and Banana Rum Cake

Gluten-free baking needs more patience, more thought and a few more ingredients. So I made it my mission to embrace these very different ingredients I would need to make amazing gluten-free cakes and kick gluten to the kerb for good. For more on my gluten histrionics I’ll send you the way of this post.

This past year as I have fallen in love with gluten-free baking and alternative flours I have learnt so much. I hate keeping things to myself so I am starting a series so I can share my nascent knowledge with you. I am going to be investigating each gluten-free flour, getting into all the nitty gritty of how to use them in our baking and helping you guys understand how to convert a recipe into a successful gluten-free version. It doesn’t end there, I will be giving advice on where you can buy gluten-free flours (hint: when in doubt, Amazon) and confirm why you don’t need to be frightened of a gluten-free cake.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake

However, before we get cracking I wanted to address a few basic questions on gluten-free baking and the best way to begin the adventure.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the name for the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. It’s this magic ingredient which provides the structure for cakes, breads and pasta and gives elasticity to doughs. Without the gluten found in wheat flour our cakes will desiccate. Or maybe not, if you learn how to bake without it.

Gluten-Free Cake

How do you substitute wheat flour with gluten-free flour in a recipe?

1. Binding

Wheat flour doesn’t just play one role in a cake recipe but several which is why it seems an indispensable ingredient and why we have to think outside the box when we remove it from our lives. The first role it plays is to bind our cakes together using the gluten proteins so they don’t fall apart in some big crumbly mess. The eggs work with the flour to provide the right structure for your cake but you need your alternative flour sources to meet the eggs halfway. The most effective flours which can help bind and hold the cake together are starchy flours like tapioca flour or arrowroot or sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour – although it contains no gluten).

2. Texture

The other role wheat flour plays is that it provides texture. Wheat flour gives our bakes a soft bouncy quality. Here is where you’ll be experimenting with the gluten-free flours as they will each give their own texture. Some bakers use xanthan gum which aids the fluffiness of your bake and will also help you with binding. I, like many gluten intolerant people before me, am also intolerant to these kind of gums so I stay away from them in my baking and focus on the right flour combo instead.

3. Neutrality

Wheat flour tastes completely neutral which is excellent in baking as it lets the flavours you want to taste shine through. There are some gluten-free flours which also harbour a neutral taste like white rice flour, potato flour or millet flour but actually a huge advantage of using gluten-free flours is that many of them have unique and delicious flavours which can enhance recipes and add depth especially to baked goods.

Utensil Pot

What is the best gluten-free flour to use?

Unfortunately there is not a one-size fits all gluten-free flour. Some flours which bind well like sweet rice flour can be too stodgy if used alone. White rice flour can be too grainy. Others like coconut flour will zap all the moisture out of your cake leaving it dry and crumbly. If you want a balanced taste but also a chance to retain the right texture and binding qualities of wheat flour, this is where you will need to start blending flours.

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Can you substitute a gluten-free flour blend for regular flour?

Each brand of gluten-free plain flour has different ratios of flours involved so results from these flours can vary a lot from recipe to recipe. In the UK we actually don’t have a lot of choice anyway but the one you can get almost anywhere is Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour. Except for a few instances I don’t usually achieve great cakes with a straight swap of these flours, they can often lead to lacklustre grainy cakes, unless you start fiddling around with other parts of the recipe, increasing moisture, adding another egg etc. I have heard good things about Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour but unfortunately it contains xanthan gum so I prefer not to use it.

There are some occasions where you can certainly just do a straight swap and use one of these gluten-free flour blends instead of regular flour. In these instances I would stick to recipes where there isn’t a lot of flour to begin with, like in a brownie recipe or in these Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Friands.

Some Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Friands sitting on a wire rack next to a bowl of caramelised apples

I have nothing against these gluten-free plain flour blends and actually use them a lot, but usually in conjunction with another alternative flour like almond flour, or teff flour in these Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies, so they support my flour of choice rather than become the flour of choice.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

How do I start gluten-free baking?

My advice would be to start slow. Bake a few recipes first which don’t need wheat flour at all which will give you the confidence to see you don’t need flour to produce a great cake. Try this Blood Orange Rosemary Polenta Cake.

This Blood Orange Rosemary Polenta Cake is both gluten-free and dairy-free. Whole oranges are boiled then pureed to create an incredibly moist and intensely citrusy cake spiked with a hint of rosemary.

or these Peanut Butter Oaty Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter Oaty Chocolate Cookies {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Then experiment with recipes that don’t need a lot of wheat flour in the first place so that if you do a straight swap with a plain gluten-free flour blend then you won’t notice the difference. This is what I did when I developed this Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Then investigate flour by flour so you can start to recognise the taste and personality of each flour and what they might bring to the table and to your bake. And this is what I hope will get you just as excited as me about gluten-free baking.

I’ll be posting updates to this series every month or so and in the first post in this series I’m going to talk about nut flours which are the very first gluten-free flours I started using. They are the easiest to get hold of as although you can buy ready-ground nut flour you can also very easily grind your own from whole nuts if you have a food processor. They can easily be married to a gluten-free flour blend to create yummy cakes with lots of moisture, texture and taste.

Please don’t get disheartened if you find out you are gluten intolerant but love to bake. Honestly since I became more familiar with alternative flours baking has become more exciting for me and my cakes are tasting better than ever.

Apple Rosemary Cheddar Crumble Cake

You can often find me waxing lyrical about Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours. I love this book which delves deep into alternative flours. Her book is a really useful resource for learning more about gluten-free baking and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

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Image of banana bread with text overlay Xanthan Gum

25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes

25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes from Start to Finish

25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes from Start to Finish

Before I get to my 25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes I want to give you a bit of an update on things. For 2017 I’m narrowing the focus of my blog just a smidge. Before I had Cole I could post regularly, maybe two or three times a week but these days, not so much. I am just about managing to post once a week. Having my energies focused on this one post has made me re-evaluate what I am really interested in and what I am good at so I can use this post wisely and productively. And it all comes back to cake. This makes sense, I bake cakes a living, it’s my great passion and I am inspired daily to bake, experiment with flour and create delicious and interesting gluten-free cakes, bakes and desserts..

Fig Almond and Salted Honey Cake

I have been avoiding this change on the blog as I didn’t want to snub long time readers who enjoy my savoury stuff but I have to go where my heart takes me which is why I began this blog in the first place. I’m sorry if a lot of my readers will be sad to see my savoury stuff relegated to the back burner for a while but there is still a tonne of dinner recipes here which I won’t be getting rid of and they are all just as delicious as ever if you wanted to check them out.

So with that in mind I want to kick off talking about cake, specifically a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while and that is these 25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes. Shall we?

25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes

1) READ THE RECIPE. Twice, nay three times, especially the ingredients list, well before you begin as sometimes ingredients have to be prepped or soaked. Then before you get started double check to make sure you have all ingredients to hand.

2) PREP YOUR BUTTER. If your recipe calls for room temperature butter take the butter out of the fridge and cut into cubes before you do anything else, preferably 1 hour before.

Butter

3) PRE-HEAT THE OVEN. Pre-heating your oven is a must to ensure it has time to get to the temperature your cake needs.

4) PRE-CUT BAKING PARCHMENT. I recommend pre-cutting a bulk load of the paper to fit all your most used cake tins on a boring rainy day as it’s a job I hate doing right before I bake.

5) CAKE RELEASE SPRAY. This makes greasing your cake tins so easy, it’s something I cannot do without.

6) DIGITAL SCALES. I am fortunate that I was taught to bake by always weighing all my ingredients. Digital scales mean you can get accurate measurements to avoid any discrepancies.

7) TEASPOONS. Buy a proper set of teaspoon measurements so you know you are adding in the right amount of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Just ¼ teaspoon difference can really affect the finished results.

Teaspoon Measurements

8) SILICON SPATULAS. Smooth silicon spatulas will change your baking experience. It is so easy to scrape the sides of the bowl and then make sure you can get all of your cake batter out of your mixer and into the cake tin. Plus, if they are totally smooth then you can avoid any cake batter getting into any nooks and crannies. Also these spatulas wash up a dream in the dishwasher.

Silicone Spatulas

9) SIFT. Do sift all dry ingredients including cocoa powder and brown sugar which have a tendency to clump.

10) SUGAR. If you want the recipe to turn out exactly as it was intended then use the right sugar, for example brown sugar has a lot more moisture so might be too heavy for your cake so means you may have to mess around with the quantities of other ingredients.

11) CREAMING. Most recipes start with the creaming of butter and sugar. Don’t cream at too high a speed. You want the butter and sugar to come together to be light and fluffy, but for best results beat together at a low-medium speed for about 6-8 minutes.

12) EGGS. They should be at room temperature so they can add the necessary volume we need from them. Break the eggs into a separate bowl before adding to the batter to avoid any errant shell falling in the mixer. Always add one at a time.

Eggs

13) VANILLA. Use extract not essence – but we all know this don’t we?

14) CHOCOLATE. Only use good quality chocolate and cocoa powder, this is what your cake will taste like so you want it to be as delicious as possible. Baking chocolate is just horrid.

15) FLOUR. Don’t dump it in all at once, add in thirds to ensure it mixes in evenly. If you are using wheat flour be careful not to overmix so you don’t toughen up the gluten. If you are using gluten-free flour then you don’t need to worry about this.

16) ADDITIONS. Are you using chocolate chips, glace cherries, blueberries? Roll your additions in a small amount of whatever flour you are using to ensure they are kept suspended during the bake rather than sinking to the bottom.

Blueberries

17) OVEN POSITION. Always bake your cake in the middle of the oven so that the heat is evenly distributed around the cake. If you have two cake tins try and fit them in side by side.

18) OVEN THERMOMETER. Buy an oven thermometer to ensure the accurate timings of your bake. If your oven runs a little hot you need to know to adjust accordingly to avoid a burnt or undercooked cake.

19) CHECKING. Never check your cake in the first 20 minutes, this is the most crucial time for your cake to rise. If it’s a long bake then resist until at least the 30 minute mark.

20) MY CAKE IS BURNT ON THE TOP. If the top of your cake is browning too much before the middle is cooked then put a very loose foil lid over it for the rest of the bake. This could be the result of an oven that runs a little hot.

21) HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY CAKE IS READY? An inserted cocktail stick should come out smooth or the cake might be pulling away from the sides a little or you can press your little finger gently into the cake, a perfectly baked sponge should bounce straight back up.

22) REMOVE cupcakes from the tin immediately or too much moisture will be retained in the cake and the cases could start to pull away.

cupcakes

23) LEAVE whole cakes in their tins for 5 minutes to settle before turning out.

24) BE PATIENT. Always wait until the cake has cooled completely to room temperature before icing.

uniced cake

25) HOW TO STORE A CAKE. Keep cakes preferably in large cake tins in a cool dark place. Tupperware will cause the cake to release too much moisture. If you have to store your cake in Tupperware then place it on some paper towels which will help to absorb the moisture from the plastic. Try not to store cake in the fridge as this will cause the cake to dry out. If the cake is iced, eat within 2 days. If un-iced the cake may keep longer.

Cake tins

To download a PDF handy checklist of all the above please click below!

Download Checklist

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PME Release A Cake Spray 600 ml | Smart Weigh PL11B Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform, Silver | OXO Good Grips Silicone Medium Spatula – White | Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Extract 118 ml | Sophie Allport Cake Tins – Chicken (Set of 3) | Master Class Rectangular Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons (Set of 6)