This is sponge as you expect it to be. Not buttery and heavy, but fluffy, not too strong in flavour (so the cream and jam can shine) and cuts lovely. Use 2 x 20cm tins for height, or one larger 22cm tin if you want a bigger cake (and will need to slice it half yourself if jamming and creaming the middle).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan forced). Lightly grease and flour your cake tins (butter is great, but if you are lactose intolerant, use a nuttelex blend suitable for baking).
Starting cold, slowly warm the sugar and water in a saucepan. Whilst it's warming, beat your egg whites until they are stiff. Add the sugar mixture and beat well. Continue to beat as you add the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring that they are well beaten in before the next. Lastly beat in the flours and vanilla essence until you have a smooth, thick yet airy batter.
Pour into your prepared tins, and bake for 25 minutes (if you are using the larger tin, it may require 30 minutes. If you find the top is browning a little quickly, simply top with a sheet of foil). Cake is cooked when springy to the touch, and cake is pulling away from sides of tin. Once cake is out of oven, drop onto your bench to remove any excess air (my friend showed me this, and in this cake it results in a very fluffy, dense sponge - don't be afraid!). Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove to cool on cake rack.
Top one cake with jam followed by cream, then place other cake on top. If making a larger cake, either slice in half to fill, or for speed and ease, jam and cream the top! Dust icing sugar over the top and enjoy!
Poshcookie is right - I did not mention that you need to have the sugar disolved into the water - so you don't have to beat forever trying to dissolve the sugar. You're ready to add the sugar to the egg mixture once it is clear and syrup'y. Thanks for bringing that to our attention! - 06 Mar 2011
The recipe is not clear. When warming the sugar and water, for how long? It is a sugary mass, and sugar is not dissolved. After adding the sugar mix, I had to beat it for 9 minutes to get some volume. End result quite good, but not high like the sponges mum used to make. Texture good
and tasted like a sponge should taste. - 28 Sep 2010