Try this never-fail sponge recipe from the CWA

Never-fail sponge. Picture: Cath Muscat
Never-fail sponge. Picture: Cath Muscat

The recipes gathered in From Our Kitchen to Yours come from the wonderful cooks of The Country Women's Association of Victoria Inc., some of whom would never have envisaged that their recipes would still be in such demand. The 185 tested and true recipes in this book have been shared countless times between friends and published as community cookbooks to raise funds for cash-strapped good causes. Food tastes may have changed and evolved, but these recipes stand the test of time.

  • From Our Kitchen to Yours: 185 favourite recipes from the Country Women's Association of Victoria, inc. Murdoch Books, $36.99.

Never-fail sponge


4 eggs, separated

small pinch of salt

165g caster sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla essence

90g cornflour

1 large tbsp custard powder

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Preheat oven to 175C.

2. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Beat well until very thick, stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg yolks and vanilla.

3. Add twice-sifted dry ingredients, then gently fold them through the egg mixture until combined.

4. Turn evenly into two well-greased sandwich tins, 21x6cm deep.

5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sides of the cake have shrunk a little from the side of the tins.

6. Turn out to cool, then slice through and fill with cream and jam, to make two individual layered cakes, or one big cake with four layers.

7. Ice or decorate the top as required; in the photo the cake is topped with strawberry halves and dusted with icing sugar.

Variation: For a chocolate sponge, add two tablespoons cocoa powder to dry ingredients.

Makes two 20cm cakes.

Ginger fluff

Ginger fluff. Picture: Cath Muscat

Ginger fluff. Picture: Cath Muscat


4 eggs

165g white sugar

pinch of salt

12ml golden syrup

60g cornflour

24ml plain flour

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

whipped cream, to serve

chopped glacé ginger and icing sugar


1. Beat eggs, sugar and salt for 20 minutes, using an electric mixer. Add golden syrup.

2. Sift together twice the cornflour, flour, spices, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Fold into egg mixture.

3. Pour into two greased sandwich tins, 21x6cm deep.

4. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes. To test if a sponge is done, gently press the centre of the sponge with your finger. If an impression remains, the cake will require more cooking; when cooked, it will spring back when lightly pressed.

5. When taking a sponge out of the oven, run a knife around the edge immediately to free the cake, or it may collapse. Turn the cake out onto a wire cake rack covered with a tea towel.

6. Once cooled, place whipped cream between layers. Dust with icing sugar and top with glacé ginger, or ice as desired.

Makes one 21 cm layered cake.

Marie's lamb curry

Marie's lamb curry. Picture: Cath Muscat

Marie's lamb curry. Picture: Cath Muscat


1.5kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2.5cm pieces

1 tsp ground turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

10 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

75g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

2 tsp chilli powder

2 cinnamon sticks, broken up into pieces

10 curry leaves

1 red chilli

500ml water

250ml coconut cream

1 tsp caster sugar

1 lemon, juiced

coriander leaves, to garnish


1. Mix the lamb, turmeric and salt and pepper together in a bowl.

2. Place the onion, garlic and ginger into a food processor, then blend the mixture into a coarse paste.

3. Place the fennel seeds into a frying pan on medium heat then cook for one to two minutes, or until fragrant. Grind the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle until you achieve a powder consistency.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan on high and, when hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger paste. Cook for two to three minutes, or until fragrant. Add the ground fennel seeds, chilli powder, cinnamon sticks and curry leaves, reduce the heat to medium, then cook for a further two to three minutes.

5. Add the lamb and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the whole chilli, water and coconut cream. Bring to a simmer, then cook for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the curry from sticking to the base of the saucepan. The lamb should be tender and the sauce thickened.

6. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the curry.

7. Serve sprinkled with coriander leaves, on a bed of steamed rice.

Serves 4.

Vegetarian lasagne

Vegetarian lasagne. Picture: Cath Muscat

Vegetarian lasagne. Picture: Cath Muscat



2 onions, chopped

olive oil, for cooking

3 large tomatoes, chopped

150g tomato paste

750g tin kidney beans, drained

1-2 tsp crushed or finely chopped garlic

1 tsp dried mixed herbs, plus extra for sprinkling

salt and pepper to taste

500ml water


250g fresh spinach, roughly chopped

9 instant spinach or wholemeal lasagne sheets

100g grated tasty cheese

35g grated parmesan

265g cottage cheese


1. To make sauce, sauté the onion in a little oil over medium heat for five minutes, until lightly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for five minutes, until soft. Add the tomato paste, beans, garlic, seasonings and water and combine. Simmer gently, covered, until you are ready to assemble the lasagne. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water.

From Our Kitchen to Yours: 185 favourite recipes from the Country Women's Association of Victoria, inc. Murdoch Books, $36.99.

From Our Kitchen to Yours: 185 favourite recipes from the Country Women's Association of Victoria, inc. Murdoch Books, $36.99.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C.

3. Cook the spinach very gently in a large saucepan, uncovered, in a splash of water if needed, until it is fairly dry.

4. To assemble, spoon a thin layer of the sauce over the base of a two litre baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagne sheets over the top. Spoon over more sauce, sprinkle with half the tasty cheese and half the parmesan.

5. Top with another layer of lasagne sheets, then cover with the spinach, cottage cheese and the remaining parmesan. Place the last layer of lasagne sheets on top, cover with the remaining sauce and, lastly, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and some extra dried herbs.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 180C. Remove the foil, and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the pasta sheets are tender.

Serves 4.

This story From our kitchen to yours first appeared on The Canberra Times.