Hot Milk Sponge Cake (small batch)

Thursday 27 May 2021

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
One of my absolute favorite dessert cakes has to be the good old fashioned hot-milk sponge cake.  This is the cake I grew up.  This cake was the cake my mother made for all of our special occasions.

I am sure it is the cake her mother made for all of their special occasions as well.  This is a recipe which has been around for ages and ages.  And no small wonder. It is excellent!

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
Of course there is no way I will be eating one of these cakes on my own now. It is simply too large and so today I set out to small batch my mothers recipe.  Happy to say, successfully.

So what is it that appeals so much about this cake?  It is one of the simplest cakes you could ever want to bake.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
It is nothing spectacular to look at, and yet  . . .  it is spectacular!  It is composed of simple ingredients.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

Just things that every cook has in their larder and refrigerator.  Flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, milk, eggs and butter.  Simple.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
Have you every found yourself wondering just who was it that invented cake?   I read somewhere that it was probably the ancient Egyptians who baked the first cakes. 

They often baked honey sweetened breads, which were likely the first versions of cake.  However it got invented, I am sure of one thing and that is that it was a good thing, because I love cake.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
I love cake of all kinds and I love this delicious cake most of all.  It is fabulous on its own, with no embellishments.  

It is fantastic split in two and filled with jam, which is how my mother used to serve it and how my father liked it.  

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
It is beautiful split and filled with a layer of jam and a layer of whipped cream.   Its gorgeous split and filled with a layer of crushed berries and a layer of whipped cream.

In short it is delicious.  Simply delicious.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
Today I cut all of the ingredients in half and baked a much smaller sponge.  I like to have all of the elements of the cake together and ready to go  before I start.

This means sifting the flour, baking powder and salt together.  It also means heating the milk and butter together so that the butter melts.  This is easiest done in the microwave I find.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
It doesn't take long, only about 30 seconds in mine. You don't want the milk to boil. You only want it warm enough to melt the butter.

Once that has happened you can stir in the vanilla.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
A part of what gives it its beautiful crumb and texture is the beating together of the sugar and eggs. 

I always use my electric mixer and I put them both into a clean glass bowl and then I start beating them at a high speed. You should beat the until they reach the ribbon stage.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 

The ribbon stage is an indication that the beaten eggs and sugar will be beaten until quite voluminous.  In fact the eggs should double in size.

The batter at this point should be thick enough that it folds back on itself when you lift the beaters from the pan.  Does this make sense?

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
The batter will fall from the beaters in a thick trail, like a ribbon.  Once you have achieved that, you can then fold in the remaining ingredients, the dry and the liquid.

I like to add the dry in three additions with two additions of liquid in between.  In short, you begin and you end with the dry ingredients.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
For a full version of this cake I would bake it in either a round or a square nine-inch pan.  For this smaller version I baked it in a 9X4-inch loaf tin. 

I butter the tin first and then line it with paper.  It should be done in about 25 minutes. It may take longer, depending on your oven.  

In any case it is  done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched with your fingertip.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
Now you could stop right there and you would have a lovely cake.  Nice and light with a tender crumb. Very enjoyable with a hot cup of something or a scoop of ice cream on top.

Mom always split it in two and filled it.  Usually with strawberry jam.  Normally that was the only kind of jam we had in the house. Mom always made her own every year and it was good.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
Its also very good split and filled with lemon curd.  Lemon curd is one of my favorite things on the planet. 

Split and filled with lemon curd, this becomes a very dangerous thing to me because I cannot leave it alone!  Yes, I just cannot be trusted with lemon curd.  Cannot!

Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
For really special occasions however, you want to split and fill it with whipped cream and fresh fruit.  Strawberries immediately come to mind because it is almost strawberry season.

Fresh, red, sweet, plump berries. I crush half and slice the other half, combining the two together.  I layer half of them in the middle of the split cake with a layer of whipped cream. You can sweeten the cream or not as you wish.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I quite got used to enjoying unsweetened whipped cream when I was in the UK. You don't really need the sugar and it tastes just as nice without it.

This is a dessert made in heaven. I don't want to call it strawberry shortcake because to my way of thinking that is always made with baking powder biscuits.  This is just a lovely cake, deliciously filled with sweet berries and rich cream.

I can't think of anyone who might turn down a slice of this!  Its just lovely!


Strawberry Sponge Cake

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Yield: Serves 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 35 Min
This hot milk sponge is perfectly sized for two. Filled with some whipped cream and berries it makes the ideal summer dessert. (see note below) On its own, split and filled with jam, or just plain and cut into squares, it always goes down a real treat.


For the cake:
  • 70g (1/2 cup) plain all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) whole fat milk
  • 1/2 TBS butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
To top and fill:
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh strawberries
  • 1 TBS strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whipping cream whipped until stiff
  • Icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 9 by 4 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Heat the milk along with the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave to melt the butter.  Stir in the vanilla.  Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat the egg and the sugar together until it doubles in volume and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, making three dry and two wet additions, combining well, but trying to not knock any air from the eggs.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking tin.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until risen and golden brown.  
  8. Leave in the tin for five minutes and then unmold onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. If you are filling with berries and cream: Wash and slice your berries, crushing half of them. Mix together in a bowl with the jam and leave to sit for a few minutes while you whip the cream.
  10. Whip the cream with or without a pinch of sugar until thick and it holds its shape.
  11. Slice the cake carefully into two pieces lengthwise.  Place one piece, cut side up, onto a serving plate.  Top with 1/2 of the berries.  Dollop the cream over top and place the other half the cake right side up over the cream.  
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the remaining berries on the side. 


If filling with berries and cream, do not fill until shortly before serving.

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Hot Milk Sponge Cake
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  1. It looks so pretty, Marie. I can't wait for the Ontario 🍓strawberries to be ready. I often combine strawberries with rhubarb in pies or crisps. I'm hoping our farmer's markets will be able to operate at full capacity this summer. Take gentle care. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. This is really good Elaine. Strawberry and rhubarb are lovely together! I am hoping our farmer's market will be operating at full capacity also. I have missed farm markets! It won't be long now before we are enjoying fresh local berries. They are the best! Love and hugs to you also. xoxo

  2. You are very welcome Becky! I hope you enjoy it! xoxo


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