Top Baking Tips and Perfect Sponge Cake Recipe


Here it is, my Top baking tips and Perfect Sponge Cake Recipe, one of the same recipes I made for Cake International and Salon Culinaire (and won) in the tasted category! 🙂

What I love about this recipe is it’s simplicity and doesn’t take a long time or effort to whip this up!

More than the recipe itself, I want to share with you my Top 10 baking tips. These are tips that I have found along the way, through numerous trial and errors and constant googling (thanks to all the baking forums, and social media groups). This is purely the science of baking. Yes, baking is science and if you get that right, you are guaranteed to have a good bake.

Regardless of the recipe you follow, these are the key things to keep in mind.


  1. All the ingredients for the cake need to be in room temperature. You may already know this, but let me tell you, all ingredients meaning your butter, eggs, milk, buttermilk, sour cream, anything that you add to the batter needs to be room temperature.
  2. Slightly warm the milk.  If the recipe calls for milk, slightly warm the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds or less. It shouldn’t be hot but warm. The difference it makes to your cake is just awesome! This is the key for fluffy bakes!
  3. Replace butter with vegetable shortening. If you are based in a Cold country, you may have noticed that butter cakes can go really hard when the cake cools down. This is not so much of an issue if you are based in tropical warm countries. I have found that using Vegetable shortening (Like Stork (UK), Crisco (US), Delicious (India) etc), it results in a much fluffier and softer cake.
  4. Don’t overbeat the batter.  Once you add the flour, you can beat the batter in medium speed for 10 seconds or less. That’s it. Rest fold it in with a spatula. This is very important. Overbeating the batter can alter the cake texture to quite rubbery and dense.
  5. Always use Vanilla paste. So many of us use vanilla essence or extract for baking. These are alcohol-based flavouring which will evaporate much in the oven. Try to use a vanilla paste with vanilla pods in it etc which will enhance the flavour of the cake.
  6. The temperature of the Oven. I tend to bake in 160 degrees Celcius whether it be cakes or cupcakes. So many recipes call for 180 degrees Celcius and it has often resulted in a hard crust which I need to trim off later on. A lower temperature results in soft bakes, so no need to trim off anything!
  7. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes. Always, before putting the cake in.
  8. Place a pan of water in the bottom rack of the oven. This results in a moist environment and evens the temperature in the oven resulting in a fantastic flat bake. (Pic below) This is the secret to flat-top cakes and cupcakes.
  9. Do not open the oven in between.  This comes with practice but usually follow the time in the recipe and only open once that time is up. You can check if the cake is done by inserting a fork or skewer into the cake, and it needs to come out clean. Opening the oven in between results in a sunken middle. We might have all had it at some point!
  10. Cool the cake in a wire rack. Always cool the cake in the cake tins for 5 minutes and then invert it into a wire rack. Or if cupcakes, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack. Transfering cakes/cupcakes to a flat plate or tray would results in moisture(steam) build-up at the bottom of the cake.

Pic for Tip 8.

how to bake flat top cakes

These are my top 10 tips! Hope you find it useful.

Sponge Cake Recipe (Makes 8″ two sandwich tins or deep pan)


  • 200 grams Caster Sugar
  • 230 grams Butter
  • 230 grams Self-raising Flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder


Preheat oven to 160 degrees fan oven.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy for 5 mins.
Add lightly beaten eggs, vanilla paste and beat for a minute.
Add flour and baking powder (beat for less than 1o seconds in medium speed). Fold everything in with a spatula.

Bake for about 25-30 mins (if in sandwich tins) or 45 minutes (if in deep pan) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Hope you found the ‘Top baking tips and Perfect Sponge Cake Recipe’ useful.
‘Science of Baking’ is one of the many modules that you can access when you enrol into our Online School, where you will learn;

The Science of Baking – Video tutorials of

  • How to make the perfect sponge cake (no brown edges to trim off, no domes or sunken middles)
  • How to make the perfect cupcakes (fluffy, crumby and perfect flat tops)
  • Flavour variations on how to make berry cake, chocolate cake, marble cakes, chocolate chip cake etc.

Also, learn our signature buttercream recipe & flavour variations, flower piping, floral cakes, palette knife painting on cakes, stained glass painting!


Until next time,

Neetha x


P.S: I did not develop the above recipe. This is a recipe that I have found online years back. You can apply the tips and techniques to any recipe.