A light rich and soft warm sponge, I seem to see so few steamed sponges these days, (even though many galleys other catering operations have combination ovens with a steam function), and that's a shame as they are easy to make and give truly satisfying results. Steamed sponges can be made with most types of sponge cake, and you can even use packet sponge mixes, but whichever sponge you use it is sure to be a winner, I find that crews just love them, On my ships Steamed sponges make regular appearances on the dessert menu, we serve custard sauce on the hot counter every day. You don't need any special tins or trays just use what you have, sponge sleeves, pudding basins or rectangular cake tins, I make my steamed sponges in bread tins and they look presentable and portion well. Once you make these steamed sponges a couple of times you won't even think about it and you will wonder why you never started cooking them sooner. Another good point about these sponges is they store well in the fridge, so I will put a couple out in the messroom and chill the other sponges for the next day, they can be heated up or when portioned up cold, a single portion will microwave in 20 seconds or less, so a hot steamed pudding is on hand at any time.
Have your butter at room temperature so it is soft and place it in a machine mixing bowl with the caster sugar.
Place the bowl on the machine fitted with the beater attachment. Starting on slow speed mix the butter and sugar together, once combined, increase the speed of the mixer to beat the butter and sugar vigorously taking the machine up to top speed
While butter and sugar are beating, grease and line 6 Bread Tins (Or whatever containers you are useing) with greased greaseproof paper with enough paper to fold together over the top once the cake batter is in the tin.
Put the enough jam or syrup in the bottom of each tin to cover the bottom. Here I have put Golden Syrup in 2 tins, Orange Jam in 2 tins, and finally Raspberry Jam in 2 tins.
Beat the eggs in a jug with the milk using a fork, you can add a few drops of vanilla essence to the eggs if you wish, this is optional.
The butter and sugar should be light in colour, fluffy and aerated, it is then ready to add the eggs.
Slowly little as a time add the egg to the butter and sugar beating vigorously until the egg is fully incorporated, it is wise to add a spoon full of flour after each addition of egg to stop the batter from spliting, add the flour on slow speed only, returning the machine to top speed when each spoon of flour is incorporated, it is important to be aware when a mixer is on high speed it can throw ingredients out, so controlling the speed of the machine is important. It is very important not to rush this part of the recipe as the mixture will split if you add the eggs too quickly, and this may compromise the texture of the finish sponge.
By the time you have added all the eggs and milk you will have a creamy thick mixture.
Sift the Flour and Baking Powder together, stop the machine and add all the remaining flour to the batter all in one go, then start the machine on slow speed until incorporated then beat on high speed for just 20 seconds to ensure a good mix and stop the machine, Do not over mix. Most recipes will tell you to fold in the flour, and that is true but with these larger quantities this is not practical, so just s very brief high speed mix will ensure you have an even mix.
Have your prepared tins linned ready on the bench, ready to accept the cake batter straight from the mixing bowl. Remove your cake batter from the machine.
Using a plastic scraper divide the cake batter equally into the cake tins. There is no need to smooth the cake batter down soon as it heats up in the oven it will melt and even out.
Bring the greaseproof paper up for the sides and fold over at the top.
Encase each cake tin in aluminum foil taking care not to rip the foil, and seal the edges of the foil to seal.
Please the sealed cakes in steamer trays and place in the steamer setting the time for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes).
After the cooking time is finished remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Open the foil to reveal the light soft sponge, the sponges will lift out of the tins by holding the top of the greasproof paper.
The tops of the sponges will be slightly domed, so cut the little cake off the top edge to make the sponge flat on top this will allow the sponge to sit upside down with the jam on the top.
Carefully turn your sponge over onto your serving tray and gently peel back the greaseproof paper.
Add more warm jam or syrup if you feel the sponge needs it, then slice and serve warm with custard.