Syrup Sponge Cake

Syrup Sponge Cake

Syrups (honey included) are a great way of sweetening and flavouring cake. Their viscous nature and generally rich flavour enhances almost any sponge far more than most sugars. Their use is a fool-proof way to ensure a moist, dense and well-textured crumb, as well as a deep, almost burnished flavour, which is likely to satisfy even the most ardent sponge sniffers in your neighbourhood. Syrup, in my opinion, also does away with the need for overly sweetened layers of icing, which usually have the effect of drowning the natural flavour of your sponge in a little too much decadence. Any syrup you can think of will work well here (except perhaps corn syrup), particularly golden syrup or maple syrup.

You may have noticed that I’m rather keen on golden syrup, though it has been brought to my attention time and time again that many of you don’t really know what it is – I guess it doesn’t really exist on the other side of the pond. Golden syrup is technically pale treacle, produced by refining – inverting – sugar cane juice to produce a sugar. By far the largest producer of golden syrup in Britain, and probably the world, is Tate & Lyle, first founded in 1881 (though it was known simply as Lyle’s until 1921).

Syrup Sponge Cake

By the way, today is World Baking Day, so get baking and sharing – everyone appreciates a slice of cake or two (three). You know, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start – if I can make it, you certainly can!

Syrup Sponge Cake

Makes one 20 x 20cm tray cake


• 125ml of syrup, golden or maple

• 30g caster sugar

• 110g butter

• 50g ground almonds

• 2 eggs

• 200g self-raising flour


1. Grease and line your cake tin, heating the oven to 170C. Melt together the syrup, sugar and butter over a low heat. Beat in the eggs and almonds before folding in the flour and pouring into the prepared tin.

Syrup Sponge Cake

2. Bake the cake for around 40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out. Cut into squares and enjoy with a healthy dollop of ice cream.

Syrup Sponge Cake

Cost: Considering everything it offers, syrup is a very reasonably priced ingredient. However, readers in Britain are unlikely to use maple syrup as it can be a little more costly than golden syrup and is probably better saved for pancakes! Still, this cake should set you back around £1.80.

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68 comments on “Syrup Sponge Cake

  1. fionaward
    May 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Oooh, syrup sponge is one of those cakes/desserts that is packed full of childhood memories. It’s been sadly overlooked in my adulthood, I shall rectify this stat!

  2. pjcim1960
    May 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    This cake looks like to be very moist & yummy!

  3. EmmaMT from
    May 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I do wish you wouldn’t post these yummy looking cakes right when I am working! I’m hungry for a slice now and would rather be baking and eating than writing!!!

    I can almost smell the syrup!

    Great post. X

  4. musingmar
    May 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    My favourite store in London (the other one, in Canada) carries golden syrup. I really must try some!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Ahha – you must! No excuses.

      • musingmar
        May 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

        I’m going to go one better one of these days and make a cake featuring a syrup that I bet you haven’t tried before. In the interest of remaining mysterious, I’ll let you know when I’m making it!

  5. Korena in the Kitchen
    May 20, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I was just the lucky recipient of some incredible maple syrup from Quebec – this sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy it!

  6. TheDorsetFinca
    May 20, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Whoohoo, World Baking Day! I am definitely going to embrace this (perhaps I can convince the family that it’s World Baking Week?) …and I will most certainly give this recipe a go!

  7. countrywoodsmoke
    May 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Lovely recipe mate, and great pics, especially the one with the drip of cream down, yum.

  8. Georgina
    May 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

    An absolute classic! And this looks just about perfect. Lovely!

  9. Gemma
    May 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

    This is my absolute favourite recipe ever. When I feel low I call my mum, she tells me the recipe (it is stored in her head) and I make it with her on the phone! I never write it down, and then promptly forget the recipe. I am going to make yours and see how it matches up… great minds though as I was going to do this as an up-and-coming food gem!! LOVE IT and I LOVE the addition of almonds. x

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Blimey – glad you like it so much! Hope it matches up favourably!

  10. The Vagabond Baker
    May 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Syrup just makes everything better!

  11. Francesca
    May 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm


  12. clevelandkat
    May 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I am fortunate enough to live in Northeastern Ohio, where fabulous maple syrup is prevalent. However, I’m also fortunate enough that my company has offices in Reading, UK where I get to visit a couple of times a year – and bring back delicious golden syrup! I do love the caramelized flavor. Can’t wait to try this cake, as I still have some left from last trip.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Fantastic! Though Reading isn’t the nicest place!

  13. Poppy
    May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Most attractive and classy looking syrup sponge I’ve ever seen!

  14. Trish
    May 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Looks great! I love Golden Syrup!

  15. Sibella at
    May 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    What a great looking cake! Yum!

  16. Kim | a little lunch
    May 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I really need to find a supplier of golden syrup this side of the pond… 🙂

  17. foodisthebestshitever
    May 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    that is a damn fine looking cake!

  18. Melody
    May 21, 2013 at 1:12 am

    This looks delish! Now I’ll have to figure out a suitable substitute on the German market for golden syrup… ideas?

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Maple syrup? You’ll probably find it over there to be honest.

      • Melody
        May 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

        Oh I was thinking more of the golden syrup… Maple syrup is here, but can be pricey.

  19. Tonette Joyce
    May 21, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I agree about syrups and honey…this is a nice recipe. I am sorry that I haven’t been around, but I have not done much visiting and have not posted on my Food,Friends, Family blog for a long time, that is,until last night.I am glad to see you posting away and I will make the time to come back and see what I have been missing!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks! I’ll be here for a while yet :D. Though I’m finding time more scarce!

  20. moonscouts
    May 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

    1 in the morning here, I’m drinking a cup of tea, and I am dying to have a slice of that fluffy cake of yours. Looks very light and simple, and I can’t wait to try making it! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Chica Andaluza
    May 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Beautiful – I adore Golden Syrup and it really does add something special to cakes!

  22. Sophie33
    May 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Yummmm! I can’t wait to try this tasty looking recipe & endresult! 🙂

  23. Bonnie Brûlée
    May 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    This looks wonderful and simple. Will try this tonight!

  24. canalcook
    May 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Looks great!

  25. Dina Avila
    May 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm


  26. limeandbarley
    May 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I love syrup too! It seems really old-fashioned, in a lovely, comforting sort of way. This recipe looks so easy, and the results so fluffy! Good work 🙂

  27. Anastasia
    May 23, 2013 at 7:42 am

    One word: MMMMMMMMMM!

  28. Janet O'Driscoll
    May 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Just made this, first one was an edible disaster… oven is a bit off temperature. Second one is in the oven now, but the first edible disaster was absolutely delicious (it had collapsed a bit in the middle, but only lost a little bit of it). I’m making a cake for our pop-up Cafe Yes, which has it’s second opening tomorrow. It is a Cafe where you pay what you think your food was worth or, if you cant afford to pay, you don’t have to. Lovely idea.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Shame about the disaster. Hope the second works better. I love the idea of your pop up cafe!

      • Janet O'Driscoll
        May 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        Can’t take the credit for it, there are ‘Cafe Yes’ pop ups all over the world, particularly in the USA. I went along, met some friends, made some new friends and came home with two free tomato plants. Lovely afternoon!

        p.s. Second cake was lovely! Mr O is a new fan.

        • frugalfeeding
          May 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

          I’m glad the second cake turned out well! I’ve never seen a pop up like that here in Britain, but I think it’s a fabulous idea.

  29. Carolyn Chan
    May 25, 2013 at 1:56 am

    That cake looks so moist and delicious ! I love the idea of brushing syrup over cakes rather than icing.

  30. Arline G. Goff
    June 21, 2013 at 8:18 am

    The next step is supposed to be dipping the still-warm cakes into hot butter and sugar. I’ve tried to cut corners again by using demerara sugar instead of something finer. When will I learn? The crystals are just too massive!

  31. Dallas Richards
    June 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Sometimes known as treacle sponge, it is more often, however, made with golden syrup. This great national institution was created by a thrifty Victorian Scot from the waste-products of his sugar refining business, and enjoyed by generations of doughty pudding lovers including Scott of the Antarctic, who commissioned photographs of penguins pecking at the familiar tins in an early example of product placement.

  32. Molly Canter
    June 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    This looks delicious. We have a syrup in the American south called Golden Eagle that will work just fine.

  33. Meenakshi
    June 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for clearing that up! I was also confused about what golden syrup (and treacle) was. I saw a similar steamed sponge in Nigella’s book. This looks really delcious! I once tried making a cake using only honey as a sweetener, but it did not come out sweet enough.

  34. Ebony Kane
    July 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I served this as a cake with a cup of tea, but it would also be heaven warm with custard for dessert. It’s a joyously sticky cake – best eaten with a fork! At first it’s all about the golden syrup then the ginger burns through and you get that heavenly warming sensation in your mouth – I love ginger!

  35. Roger D. Walker
    July 11, 2013 at 4:20 am

    I love your blog, I bake no fuss down to earth cakes and I guess you can’t get much more down to earth than golden syrup cake. I would like to know however whether some of the sugar can be cut. If it can, would 20% be too much, or would it really, really affect the yumliness of the cake? I promise I am not a robot so would appreciate some advice.

  36. Potty Mummy
    March 20, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Can you make it without the almonds? I have 2 nut-allergic children… very inconvenient when presented with recipes like this cake, which looks delicious.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 25, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Yes – don’t worry too much about the almonds. It’ll be lovely anyway.

  37. odelleasmith
    March 4, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Just adore golden syrup sponge, even better with ground almonds, we all loved it!
    Comfort food at it’s finest…Gorgeous!

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