An old fashioned, traditional French sponge cake recipe that children love.


  • 225 g plain flour
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 225 g good quality salted butter or
  • fleur de sel butter (softened)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
  • for the compote:
  • 500 g rhubarb (cut into chunks)
  • 200 g strawberries (hulled and sliced)
  • 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar


  • The Cake:
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease and flour a 22cm, round sandwich tin or use a ‘magical’ silicone one.
  • Beat all the ingredients together in a mixer on high for 2 minutes or so, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through.
  • Tip the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until it is beautifully golden and just coming away from the sides of the tin.
  • Remove from the oven, let it cool slightly then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  • For the Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote:
  • Put the rhubarb in a pan with a tiny splash of water. Cover and heat very gently, leaving it to steam in its own juices for 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  • If you are adding strawberries, do it now. They will poach and in so doing release their juicy dye. Add the sugar and puree - the whole thing if you wish.


Trish's tip: You can prepare the buttery sponge as a single cake or it can be used to make individual fairy cakes.