Fatless sponge, except for the filling

I have gotten into the habit of baking and trying new recipes of a Thursday evening so I could bring them into work for a taste test. I have very willing colleagues so when I took a notion last week to make a whisked fatless sponge (two to be sure) they were more than happy to try the cake with its cool and sweet filling of raspberry jam and freshly whipped cream.

This is a simple cake with simple ingredients and is based on a recipe by Rachel Allen. Flour, sugar eggs and water are mixed together (how they are mixed is the key) to produce a thick and pale batter that cooks into the tallest cake I have every produced with a lighter than air centre and crisp, almost meringue like topping.


This cake is very similar to the classic Swiss roll in its lack of fat, but the ratios are different as is the addition of water. I’ll save that recipe for another day.

This cake is incredibly versatile in that it pairs very well with a multitude of fillings, most notably fresh cream and fruit, jam or curd. I’ve used them all and can attest that they all work brilliantly. As it is only springtime in Ireland, local soft fruits are not yet available. Imports from other European countries, where they are grown in hydroponic tunnels, are available but these are pale and taste only of water and are not worth the money or the air miles.


I was lucky enough to have a coupe of jars of homemade raspberry jam in the shed made with fruit from my Dad’s own garden (definitely organic) and using my mums recipe and a spoonful of this still tastes like summer.

The recipe below will make two 8 inch cakes or one 10 inch cake.



7 oz caster sugar
5 oz plain flour
3 large eggs (separated)
75 ml of cold water
1 tsp baking powder

250 ml single cream
1 tblsp caster sugar
4/5 tblsp of raspberry jam (or your jam of choice)

Line the base of two 8 inch sandwich tins and grease the sides with butter
Preheat the oven to 160 C for a fan oven and 180 C for a conventional oven


  1. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix (using a balloon whisk) on high until pale and creamy.
  2. Add the 75 ml of water and beat on high for 5-7 minutes until mixture is pale, whipped.
  3. Meanwhile whip the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
  4. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold in very gently. Warning (air pockets).
  5. Finally fold the eggs whites gently into the mixture.
  6. Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins and spread out, being careful not to knock out too much air.
  7. Place in the preheat oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove the cakes from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  9. When ready to eat whip the cream with the tblsp of sugar into soft peaks.
  10. Spread the jam on the bottom layer of the cake and top with the whipped cream.
  11. Finish the cake with a sprinkle of caster or icing sugar.


    Tip: Be careful for pockets of flour in the mixture when you are mixing the cake. Ensure it is well mixed, without knocking too much air out.

The cake is best when eaten on the day it is made but it will keep in the fridge for another day. In our house it doesn’t last long, its way too delicious.

Enjoy and I am looking forward to hearing how you eat yours. Until next time …………


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