If you read this on a regular basis you’ll know that our household is vegetarian, with an occasional dip into a vegan diet due to problems with egg and dairy. For a long time, I didn’t think that it was possible to make good cake that was egg and butter free – my first experiments were horribly oily, stodgy and bleh. After some experimentation, however, I came across one cake that showed that it was the recipes, not the concept, that was the problem.
After some experimentation of my own, based on that first cake, I’ve arrived at a recipe for sponge that works really well. The first time I made it, I thought the orange juice would add a lot of flavour, but it doesn’t. Flour soaks up a lot so without the zest, this isn’t an orange cake. This is good news! Leave out the orange zest and add a splash of vanilla essence and you have a lovely plain sponge. The colour is a little richer than an egg and sugar sponge, and the texture improves with a 12-24 hour rest. If you can wait, do. It is worth it.
I like baking and freezing. This cuts into up to 16 pieces (small, but perfect for elevenses) and keeps for up to three months in the freezer. I separate pieces with slivers of grease proof paper to ensure they don’t stick together.
- 350 grams plain flour
- 225 grams caster sugar (white or golden)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Zest from half an orange (if you have a zester: great! If not, use a sharp knife to shave off the zest and then chop it finely.)
- 250 millilitre orange juice
- 60 grams golden syrup
- 100 grams almond or vegetable oil
- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Measure out the juice and heat it.
- Add the syrup and oil to the hot juice and mix to dissolve the syrup.
- Pour the juice into the dry ingredients and beat into a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into a 23 cm cake tin.
- Put into the oven and leave for 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick before removing.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving.