Mary Berry, the grand dame of British baking, has offered us countless delectable recipes over the years. While many of us are familiar with her classic butter-based cakes, not everyone has had the pleasure of trying her sponge cake made with oil. This particular recipe is notable not just for its delightful taste, but also for the unique advantages oil brings to the table.
The Wonders of Oil in Baking
The use of oil in cakes, especially sponge cakes, has been a well-kept secret among professional bakers. Here’s why:
- Moisture Overdrive: Unlike butter, which solidifies at room temperature, oil remains liquid, ensuring a soft, moist texture. Say goodbye to dry cake days!
- Flavour Amplifier: While butter has its distinct flavour, oil provides a neutral backdrop, allowing other ingredients such as fruits, spices, or chocolate to truly stand out.
- Extended Freshness: Cakes made with oil tend to stay moist and fresh for longer, perfect for those who love to bake in advance.
The Recipe Magic: Mary Berry’s Oil-Based Sponge Cake
- 200g self-raising flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 240ml vegetable oil (or any other neutral oil)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) or 350°F.
- Whisk together caster sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until the mixture is light and airy.
- Gradually introduce the oil, ensuring it blends seamlessly with the mixture.
- Sift in the self-raising flour and salt, folding gently to maintain the airiness.
- Transfer the batter into two greased 8-inch round cake tins.
- A bake of 25-30 minutes should suffice, but always do the skewer test. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go!
- Allow cooling before serving or adding your favourite frosting.
Diving Deeper: Variations and Tips
- Oil Choices: While vegetable oil is commonly used, other neutral oils like sunflower or canola work just as well. If you’re feeling adventurous, coconut oil can add a tropical twist.
- Flavour Boosts: Enhance your sponge cake by adding citrus zest, nuts, dried fruits, or even a dash of liquor like rum or brandy for an adult version.
- Layering Ideas: Given the cake’s neutral profile, it pairs wonderfully with a range of fillings and frostings. Think fresh cream, berry compote, or rich chocolate ganache.
Mary Berry’s sponge cake with oil is an exceptional recipe that promises consistent results. It’s versatile, delicious, and perfect for any occasion or season. Whether you’re hosting a summer tea party or looking for a comforting winter treat, this sponge cake won’t disappoint. So, the next time you’re in the mood for some baking magic, give this oil-based wonder a shot!