A traditional and a classic, the simple and delicious sponge from Rachel Allen
- 175 g (6oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 175 g (6oz) caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 175 g (6oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tblsp milk
- icing or caster sugar, for sprinkling
- two 18cm (7in) diameter sandwich tins
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), then butter and flour the sides of each tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment.
- Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds until just mixed, then gradually add them to the butter mixture, beating all the time. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add the milk and fold in gently to incorporate.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and make a slight hollow in the centre of each cake so that when it rises it doesn't peak too much in the centre, making it difficult to sandwich together with the other half.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 18–25 minutes or until golden on top and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges of each cake using a small, sharp knife and carefully remove from the tins before leaving on a wire rack to cool down completely.
- Once cool, spread 3–4 rounded tablespoons of jam, such as raspberry, strawberry or blackberry, over the first cake, followed by a layer of 125ml (4 1/2 fl oz) of double or regular cream, whipped until almost stiff. This is best eaten on the day it's made.
Rachel's tip: If you want the cake to last for a few days (without putting it in the fridge), omit the cream and use just jam in the centre; this will keep in an airtight box for 2–3 days.