Donna Hay’s soft vanilla sponge

Cooking this light-as-air soft vanilla sponge cake recipe in a bundt tin gives the finished product instant added ‘wow’ factor. The icing sugar dusting adds a little extra sweetness.

From Modern Baking by Donna Hay


12 medium egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp cream of tartar
165g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
110g caster sugar, extra
icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and vanilla, and whisk until thick and glossy.
2. Sift the flour and extra caster sugar into a medium bowl. Sift a second time over the egg white mixture and gently fold to combine.
3. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 2.5 litre-capacity bundt tin and smooth the top. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake comes away from the sides of the tin. Invert the tin and set aside for 1 hour or until cooled completely.
4. Using a butter knife, loosen the edges of the cake from the tin and turn out on to a cake stand or serving plate. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Modern Baking by Donna Hay will be published by Fourth Estate on 18 October, price £30. To pre-order a copy for £24 (a 20 per cent discount) until 21 October, visit, or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15. Donna’s TV series Basics to Brilliance Kids continues on UKTV until 26 October; to be followed by Basics to Brilliance later in the year. To mark the publication of Modern Baking, she will be in London at the end of October for events at Fortnum & Mason ( for details) and The Soho Hotel ( for details). And you can catch Donna on BBC Saturday Kitchen on 3 November.