What do you call that, darl? Sponge Cake

Whenever I think of Sponge Cake, I think Darryl Kerrigan from the classic Australia movie, The Castle. “What do you call that, darl?” Darryl asks his wife, Sal. “Sponge Cake” she replies. “Beautiful,” Darryl says. It’s up there in The Castle quotes along with “Straight to the pool room!”

The last couple of months Tim and I have been living with friends in Canberra while we’re in transition and sorting our jobs and housing. It’s a home full of love, family, music and conversation and we have certainly enjoyed spending time with Susan and Ross.

We’ve also been enjoying Susan’s cooking and we have also had a chance to share our cooking too (Tim and I made 6 home made pizzas one Saturday night for the extended family). Susan recently marked a birthday and wanted to celebrate it with lunch and a Sponge Cake. I have never really made Sponge Cake and it’s not something I recall mum making much either, so Susan gave me a one on one lesson on how to perfect the Sponge Cake.

Susan’s recipe is adapted from Margaret Fulton’s Basic Sponge Sandwich (RIP Margaret Fulton) which comes from her book My Very Special Cookbook which was published in 1980. Susan’s top tips include not folding too much because you want to keep the air bubbles there and not opening the oven once the sponge cake is in otherwise the cake will sink in the middle.

If you want a fluffy, soft and delightful cake to try to cook for family and friends, then try this Sponge Cake. I’ll be cooking again.


  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar


  • Lemon butter
  • Whipped cream
  • Icing sugar


  1. Brush one 20 cm sandwich tin with melted butter and line bases with greaseproof paper cut to fit, brush again with butter and dust with sifted flour. Set oven temperature to 190°C.
  2. Sift flour and salt together. Heat water with butter until the butter melts and set aside. Separate the eggs and beat the whites until they stand in soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is very thick. Add the egg yolks all at once and beat only until incorporated.
  3. Sift flour over the top of the egg mixture and fold through (very gently and not much!) Pour the water and butter mixture around the edge of the bowl and fold in.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched in the centre. Turn onto a wire cake to cool.
  5. When cold, cut the cake horizontally and spread with lemon butter and whipped cream. Dust the topping with icing sugar and decorate with strawberries.

Happy Birthday Susan.


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