A Very Fine Chocolate Sponge

This excellent chocolate sponge from a Hertfordshire manor house used to be made for tea parties after Christmas, when everyone was tired of fruit cake.

A round cake tin about eight inches (20 cm) in diameter and two to three inches (5 to 8 cm) deep is required. It should be lined with two thicknesses of greaseproof paper standing about one inch (2.5 cm) above the top of the tin.

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  • stick (150 g) butter (fairly soft for creaming)
  • cup (90 g) sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 oz (90 g) bitter chocolate, very finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups (210 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon coffee essence
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm milk
  • A few drops vanilla essence


Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat the egg yolks well and add to the butter and sugar. Mix the chocolate, salt and flour together and stir into the mixture. Add the coffee essence and milk.

Beat the egg whites to a stiff froth, add the vanilla essence and fold into the mixture gently. Stir in 1 teaspoon of boiling water just before putting the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 45 minutes. Cool on a rack.