Brown sugar enriched gluten free sponge cake layers joined together by sweet fresh strawberries and clouds of vanilla whipped cream. This is a treat perfect for welcoming warmer days.I remember making many sponge cakes with my Dad when I was a little girl. Baking with Dad was one of Jessica and my favourite ways to spend a Saturday morning. We would climb up on chairs at the kitchen bench and pull down Dad’s old Navy cookbook: a maroon leather volume entitled ‘Australian and New Zealand Cookery’. We flipped past all the savoury pages until we found the sweets and baking section. This was an early sign of what was to come for Jess and I. Together with Dad we wandered all over the baking world: melting moments, jam drops, chocolate eclairs, marshmallows – and sponge cake.
Through our Saturday baking mornings together Dad taught us so many fundamentals for our future endeavours in the kitchen, but more than that, he baked up memories with us that lasted long after the last crumbs vanished. This is one of the reasons that baking equals love in my family. Because baking takes time, and taking time to make something for someone you care about is an expression of love.This Father’s Day I wanted to recapture the spirit of some of our Saturday baking sessions, and I knew I had to recreate a gluten free version of sponge cake, with an Amy twist. This sponge is just as light and airy as those made long ago, but there is a hint of caramel in the background because this recipe replaces caster sugar with brown sugar. This is not a sponge that is merely a vehicle for cream and berries, but a cake that holds its own. Layered together with vanilla sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries, this cake evoked memories, and was the perfect way to celebrate my sweet Dad.
I was a little nervous re-creating this classic so here are some handy hints that I picked up:
- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. This will ensure the maximum volume is achieved when you whip them with the sugar. More volume = lighter sponge.
- Be prepared before you start: preheat the oven; measure out your ingredients; and grease and line your baking tins.
- Yes. You really do need to sift your dry ingredients three times.
- When folding use an under and over swooping motion and turn the bowl a quarter turn after each fold. Make sure you scrape the bottom too.
- Be very careful when you are rotating the cakes and opening/closing the oven door. You do not want to bash all the air out of the cakes.
- Remove your sponges immediately from the tins once they are out of the oven. And allow to cool completely before filling and decorating.
- The more cream, the better.
We spent Sunday morning sitting on the patio of Jess and Trent’s house, celebrating Dad and enjoying the fresh spring morning. Slices of fluffy brown sugar sponge with mountains of sweet berries and whipped cream were passed around, plates were scraped and seconds were sneaked (that might have been me…). Recreate this family classic for your loved ones, and conjure up memories of teatimes past.
Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream
Gluten Free | Serves 8-10 | Best eaten on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep up to two days in the refrigerator | Adapted from here.
For the cake
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 165 grams brown sugar
- 100 grams white rice flour
- 50 grams sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For decoration and assembly
- 300mL whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon gluten free icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 250 gram punnet strawberries, and extra for serving
- Extra icing sugar for dusting, optional
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F or 160C/320F if fan-forced) Grease two 8-inch round cake tins. Line the bottoms with baking paper.
- Place eggs and brown sugar in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high for 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. You could use a large bowl and a handheld mixer instead if preferred.
- Sift together white rice flour, sorghum flour, cream of tartar and baking soda three times.
- Once the eggs are finished beating, sift dry ingredients over the top and then very gently fold into the batter. Use an under and over motion and be sure to scrape the bottom.
- Divide batter between pans and bake for 15-18 minutes. Swap pan positions halfway through baking time.
- Once the cakes are finished cooking, remove from the oven and immediately turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Once the cakes are completely cool you are ready to assemble them.
- Start by whipping the cream together with the icing sugar and vanilla. Use a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high until you achieve stiff peaks.
- Place one layer of cake down onto the serving platter and spread with the strawberry jam.
- Slice strawberries into pieces and layer these onto the cake.
- Spread cream over strawberries and place second layer of cake on top.
- Dust with extra icing sugar if desired and serve with more strawberries.