Light-As-Air Sponge Cake

Here are all the lovely flavours of a Bakewell sponge pudding coming together as a cake. If you don’t like marzipan, leave it out altogether, and replace the almond extract with a few drops of vanilla extract to create a raspberry ripple sponge instead.

Serves: 4–6


  • oil, to grease
  • 50g white marzipan (optional)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bitter almond extract, to taste (optional)
  • 185g self-raising flour
  • 25g flaked almonds


For the raspberry puree

  • 150g fresh raspberries (or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon framboise syrup (or maple syrup)

Note: if you want to save time on the purée, you can always use a good-quality, store-bought raspberry jam.


To make the purée, bring the raspberries and syrup to the boil in a small saucepan over a low heat. Bubble vigorously for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks thick and ‘jammy’. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the sponge, grease the cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

If using, cut the marzipan into 1.5cm dice and set aside. Break the eggs into a small bowl and, using a fork, beat lightly to break them up.

Cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl, using an electric whisk, until pale, light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar in several additions, beating well between each one (five or six additions will do).

Add the almond extract and diced marzipan, folding them into the mixture using a large metal spoon or a spatula. Sift the flour into the bowl and carefully fold it in, trying not to beat any air out of the mixture.

Drizzle the cooled raspberry purée over the sponge mixture and fold it in quickly and very lightly, so that it creates a marbled effect; do not be tempted to over-mix, or you will lose the rippled appearance in the cooked cake.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level it out with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the surface and lightly press them into the mixture using your fingertips.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 50–60 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack. Peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely. Before serving, dust generously with icing sugar.

Recipe taken from How to Cook Cakes by Leiths School of Food and Wine
With more than 70 recipes, this title takes in contemporary dishes from worldwide cuisines as well as great classics with a modern twist. Leiths provides detailed, illustrated step-by-step guides to making all kinds of cakes, from creamed cakes and whisked sponges, through teabreads and traybakes to cupcakes, muffins and scones. In addition, there is a selection of gorgeous cookies and biscuits. Each chapter also presents a range of original, contemporary cakes as well as classics that have stood the test of time. This enticing collection includes such mouth-watering recipes as chocolate caramel espresso cake, mojito genoise, raspberry and lime traybake, muscat sponges with elderflower icing, white chocolate and strawberry muffins and fine nut sablés.

You can purchase How to Cook Cakes at

Published by Quadrille Publishing.  

Related articles:
Victoria Sponge Cake
Easy Lamington Slice
Dried Chocolate Mousse

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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