There could be little more enticing to a  busy mum who needs to bake a cake than a cookbook titled Mary Berry Fast Cakes. In this post I road test one of the recipes from this book, the fast and easy Genoese sponge cake. With lemon and cream cheese icing, it was a great birthday treat for my mum.

Mary Berry trained at The Cordon Bleu in Paris and Bath School of Home Economics. Way back in the (swinging) ’60s she became the cookery editor of Housewife magazine. She has produced many cook books in her time.

Top tips for the Genoese sponge cake

In Mary Berry Fast Cakes I found a really great and easy recipe. It was my first sponge. Ever. And it was quite okay. And it was a really fast, fun cake to make. I made it for my mum’s birthday recently. This is what it looked like:



The recipe for this Fast, Easy Genoese Sponge is very straightforward. I like the fact that it is quite low in sugar/fat, allowing me to feel less guilty when I lathered it in icing.

Hugh Fernley Wittingstall shares his tips for easy Genoese sponge cake: “This is a very useful recipe to have in your repertoire. The light but firm sponge is delicious filled with fresh fruit and cream, but is also ideal for a trifle. You do need to whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 10 minutes, but this is easy if you have a hand-held electric beater.”

The recipe for thisGenoese sponge cake calls for two traditional sponge tins and then a filled cake but I actually just made it all in one, as you can see in the picture.

I used a cream cheese and lemon icing, which was a variation on the icing recipe given recently in this post carrot and banana cake.

This made a wonderful birthday cake. I will definitely use this again soon.

Mummy to three small boys


Genoese sponge cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g or ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 100 g or 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 C or gas mark 3.
  2. Grease and line with greaseproof paper two 8 inch / 20 cm sandwich tins.
  3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a medium size bowl. Beat these with a electric beater until the mixture has thickened and you see a trail/tail when the beaters are removed from the bowl.
  4. Sift a small amount of the self-raising flour onto the surface of the mixture then fold it in gently with a metal spoon. Continue in this fashion until all the flour is mixed in.
  5. Fold in the oil.
  6. Gently turn mixture into prepared tin/tins and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Once out of the oven, cool slightly in the tin and then turn gently onto a cake rack to cool.
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