Tray Bake

Serves8 people
Tray Bake

There’s a simple formula for making a classic sponge. Once you learn it, whipping up a proper good sponge is a piece of cake. Tray bakes are perfect for picnics and a great carrier for fruit. The idea is to slather the cake batter into a rectangular greaseproof paper-lined tin and top with fresh fruit and more. For extra flavour and fun, add complementary herbs or spices to your sponge mix. The formula: The trick is in the numbers: a trad sponge has an equal weight of butter, sugar, egg and flour – mixed up in that order. The weight of the eggs is calculated with their shells on, which is roughly (give or take a gram) 55g. If you make this mix up and need a little more to fill your tins, whip up 1 egg plus 55g of each main ingredient. The liquid is added right at the end to just to provide a little extra moisture, and flavour if you wish to introduce lemon juice, coffee, etc.

2 ratings


  • 4 medium eggs
  • 225g sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • Nutty appley toppings: Walnuts, Cinnamon, Apples
  • Tropical toppings: Bananas, Desiccated Coconut, Rum
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1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Butter your cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
2. Whip your butter till soft and light. Use a strong hand and a wooden spoon or a handmixer.
3. Add the sugar. Whip till pale and fluffy – give it about 5 mins. You’ll see a change.
4. Add eggs one by one, whipping them in as you go. If the mix splits (it’ll look a bit lumpy and separated), add 1 tbsp of your measured flour.
5. Keep the mix looking light and fluffy the whole time. Then, sift in the flour. Gently fold the everything together with a large spoon – no whipping at this stage.
6. Trickle in a little liquid (if you’re out of milk use water instead or try juice (fresh lemon, orange, beetroot to add a hint of pink)), tea or coffee for a tickle of added flavour., little by little until you have a nice buttery mix. It’ll be relatively thick mix.
7. Spoon into a prepared tins. Bake for about 50-55 minutes until risen, pale golden and firm to the touch.
8. Cool before removing from the tin.
9. Ideas:
- Halved plums and cardamom added to the sponge.
- Halved apricots with vanilla and lavender added to the sponge.
- Apple rings, walnuts and cinnamon sugar.
- Banana slices and dessicated coconut with rum added to the sponge.
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  • £8.50
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    (£8.50 each)
    Organic Vegetarian
    Save £1.20 (normal price £9.70).
    Your essential sponge baking kit
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