My favourite recipes are the simplest recipes. The ones which don’t require a long list of fancy ingredients and take about a hundred steps and lots of concentration. It’s why I like fairy cakes of the sort you make with small children.

For larger cakes, like sponges, it’s one my mother taught me as a child. A nice, simple sponge you can keep the recipe for in your head.

It’s the 2 4 6 8 cake. It’s very simple. If you’re making a sandwich cake, you’ll need 7” cake tins. I used a square brownie tin though, and then remembered I don’t have a square plate. Never mind!

2468 Cake


2 eggs

4oz butter

6oz sugar

8oz self-raising flour [if you only have plain flour, add 3 tsps of baking powder]

Enough milk or water to make the batter suitably liquid

Opt. for a chocolate cake, add a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder


And it works the same way as any sensible sponge. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs, stir in sieved flour (and cocoa powder if using) and mix. Add milk or water as required. Tip into the cake tin(s).

Bake in a moderate oven (about 170C/gas mark 3) for approx. 45 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Decorate to taste. I made chocolate butter icing and then used up the last of the orange and lemon slices in the cupboard.