Basic Sponge Cake Mix

Sponge Cake 19.09.09I call this a 4, 4, 4, 2 because it has 4oz each of butter, flour, sugar and 2 eggs (all storecupboard ingredients).  It also sounds pleasantly like it might be the wheel array on a steam engine.  This useful pneumonic, however, fails to work with metric weights, but then so much about metric fails to work for me, but let’s discuss it no further or I will (in modern parlance) ‘go off on one’, and we wouldn’t want that.

The humble sponge is so terribly versatile. One can obviously use it to whip up a super-fast cake, but it can be used for a variety of puddings at short notice.  The quantity can be adjusted with the simplest of sums (2 2 2 1, 8 8 8 4 etc) depending on how much you need.

The important things to remember about sponges is that to make them light in texture you have to beat the butter and sugar together for AT LEAST 5 minutes with an electric whisk or 10 minutes by hand.  The butter and sugar mixture has to become nearly white in colour before it’s ready to add the eggs.  Then when you add the eggs, I always add a spoonful of flour at the same time to stop the mixture curdling.

NB. I would be very grateful if any members of the Women’s Institute who are reading this would refrain from pointing out that a true Victoria Sponge does not have buttercream in it.  I don’t care.  I just like cake.


4oz / 120g butter
4oz / 120g white sugar
4oz / 120g white self raising flour
2 eggs
1 tablspn milk

Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Beat the butter and sugar together until it is pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes and prefereably more with an electric mixer)
Beat in the eggs and one tablspn flour
Beat in the flour
Beat in the milk
Apply the mixture to whatever you’re making


1 x medium sized mixing bowl
1 x electric food mixer
1 x rubber scraper (not essential but it means you can lick the bowl really thoroughly)
2 x 7″ round cake tins (loose bottomed are much, much easier)
1 x wire cooling rack

6, 6, 6, 3 sponge mixture

3oz / 90g butter
3oz / 90g icing sugar (approx, you may like a little more – taste it and see)
1 tblspn white flour
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Raspberry jam (or whatever type of jam you like)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Grease and flour the cake tins
Make the cake mixture as for Basic Sponge
Divide the mixture equally between the tins
Bake for approximately 20 minutes – if you’re not sure if it’s cooked, poke a skewer or a small thin knife into the middle – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked.  If any mixture clings to it, give it another 5 minutes and try again.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes
Remove from the tins and place on the wire cooling rack.
Then make the filling by beating the butter, icing sugar, flour, milk and vanilla together in a bowl.
When the cake is completely cool, spread as much jam as you like on the top of one of the cakes
Then spread the buttercream on top of the jam.
Put the other cake on top and sprinkle with a little icing sugar to make it look attractive
Put the kettle on.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake 


Grease a pudding bowl.
Arrange a tin of pineapple rings attractively round the bottom.
Place glace cherries in the middle of the rings
Sprinkle with brown sugar
Spoon a 4 4 4 2 sponge mixture on top
Bake as above.
Serve with custard

Sticky Dicky
Grease a pudding bowl
Put 2 brimming tablespoons of golden syrup into the bowl
Mix 4 oz raisins and a pinch of nutmeg into a 4 4 4 2 sponge mixture
Spoon into the bowl on top of the syrup
Bake as for a sponge cake
Serve with custard


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard, Uncategorized

33 responses to “Basic Sponge Cake Mix

  1. trying to make this only 13 love cooking all the time:)xxx

    cooking time?x
    1 hour and a half?xx

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Leah. I’m very glad to hear that you like cooking. Are you just trying make a simple sponge cake? If so, it should only take about 20-25 minutes to bake. The way to test it is to poke a skewer or a thing knife into the middle, and if it comes out clean it’s cooked. I do you you have a go at some of my other recipes.

  2. helen

    just waiting for the beef to cook for sunday lunch so I thought I would knock up a quick sponge for pudding. Here goes and fingers crossed

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Helen – do let me know how it goes.

      • helen

        I had to take the yorkshire puddings out of the oven whilst my sponge was cooking. Resulting in a big sink in the middle of the cake. Filled it with jam and cream and it tasted lovely, family all full up now. nice

  3. wartimehousewife

    Well done Helen! You’ll have to try it again when you don’t have to open the door. Now you’ll have to think what to bake next….


    made the basic sponge cake yesterday with my son. my son and his friend loved it!!! 😀 thank you for sharing your recipe x

  5. Catriona Arnold

    Hi, I am a bit confused as to the size of tins that each quantity will fill do you have a conversion chart that gives this.



    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Catriona – if you’re just making a 4,4,4,2 sponge cake, divide the basic quantity between 2 x 8″ round cake tins
      If you’re doubling the quantity to make a bigger cake, use deeper tins. Hope this helps.

  6. steph

    hi, why does my sponge cake go flat and stodgy in the middle. i used basic mix but it came out heavy. doe it make a difference if you use butter or marg. normal sugar or caster.

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Steph – it shouldn’t make any difference whether you use buter/marg, ordinary/caster sugar.
      The first thing to check is have you beaten the butter and sugar for long enough? It needs to be beaten until it is much, much lighter in colour and really fluffy.
      What temperature did you put your oven on? It needs to be about 360/180.
      If it appears to browned on top, stick a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it still has cake mixture sticking to it, it needs more time. If necessary, cover it with a bit of tin foil and pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, and test again. Let me know how you get on.

      • steph

        oven was right temp i will try again and let you know . my husband likes a sponge now and then for a treat as he is a diabetic so would like to get it perfect for him. thanks guys x

  7. Olddavegrey

    Going to try this for my grandsons birthday cake, will it take to being cut and shaped onto a Dinosaur shape and covered in icing?

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Olddavegrey. Absolutely, it will be fine. If you’re using fondant icing, put a layer of jam or buttercream on the cake first for the fondant to stick to. Let me know how you get on – or better still send a photo. What a lucky grandson.

  8. Valerie Pinder

    I used all freshly bought ingredients for my Victoria Sponge Cake including the Raspberry Jam. Within 12hrs the jam had gone green and looked mouldy on the cake. Could you please explain why this has happened.
    We have a shop bought birthday cake which is still perfect.

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Valerie – Gosh – the jam had gone mouldy? I really can’t explain that one. Was the sponge cake alright? Do you live in a very humid place?

      • Valerie Pinder

        Thanks for your reply. No I don’t live in a very humid place. The cake was freshly made and the room it was in has no radiator and the fire is never on. I have just looked at the bought cake and is still as good as when it was bought and is in the same room. Has me baffled too.

      • wartimehousewife

        It must be the jam – I would take it back to the shop if I were you. Most mysterious!

  9. TanyaPanya

    Going to have a go at making a cake today…can I replace some of the flour with cocoa powder? My partner prefers choccy cakes xx

  10. naomi

    why is it that you don’r use baking powder?

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Naomi – I tend to use self raising flour which has the baking powder already in it. 8oz /240g plain flour should rerquire a teaspoon of baking powder.

  11. Craig Atkins

    Thanks for the recipe, I made it today and it came out great Thank you.

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Craig – thanks for letting me know. Keep reading for lots more easy and delicious recipes.

      • Craig Atkins

        Hi again, The cake came out fantastically. I made a dinosaur character cake with it for my Daughters 14th birthday, I hope this works here is a link to the picture I took of it, Hope you like it as much as we did as it will become a favourite in our family, Thanks again for the recipe. Here is the link

  12. wartimehousewife

    Oh well done Craig – I bet your daughter was delighted. Thank you so much for letting me see the result and I hope it has inspired you to try more things!
    Happy Easter.

  13. steph

    I am needing to make a cake 10×12 what quantity mix should i use and how long should it take in fan oven. 4442 was a mix my grandmother taught me takes me back – thanks for the memories

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Steph. If you want the cake to be nice and high, I would recommend using 4 times the 4442. I would allow 45 minutes but you will have to keep checking it. I would suggest that as soon as it is nicely browned on the top, cover it with foil so that it continues to cook on the inside without overcooking the outside. Is this for a celebration? Do let me know how you get on or send a photo of the finished result if you feel like it. . Good luck!

  14. hyacinth

    thankyou for this recipe! i’m just making it now, really nice instructions to follow 🙂 xx

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Hyacinth – I feature lots of basic recipes on this site and easy meal ideas. I do hope your cake turns out nicely – let us know how you get on.

  15. kev

    Just had to make one of these today. Yum!

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