This Sponge Cake recipe is the one that opened my eyes as to how you can (and should) simplify a recipe to make it easier to remember. More importantly, in doing so I think it takes some of the fear away from trying to make a seemingly complicated dish.
This recipe has many variations and uses. The same formula can be used as a plain but delicious Vanilla Sponge Cake, the cake for a Jelly Roll, the cake for a Christmas Yule Log, a Chocolate Sponge Cake, etc.
Here’s what you need to remember:
For One 8” Cake or One Cookie Sheet
6 Eggs, Extra Large
6 ozs. Sugar
6 ozs. Butter, unsalted
6 ozs. Flour
That’s the basic recipe.
You can memorize that easily, and the only thing you need to remember besides that is to add a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. If you are making a chocolate sponge just add 2 heaping Tbsps. of cocoa powder.
The recipe that I illustrate below is the Chocolate Sponge Roll which I will be using to make my Yule Logs on Tuesday.
OK so besides the formula you obviously need instructions on how to make the cake. If you are like me then you can remember techniques quite easily. I’m fine on my own once I have made something after having been shown how to do it properly.
One way to simplify communication in baking is by categorizing each type of cake based on the method of preparation.
This cake is made using the Sponge Method. So once you have made this cake you will have mastered one of the major cake methods!
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Warm the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in your mixing bowl. Do this by immersing the bowl in hot water but be careful not to let the eggs cook at all – you just need to bring them to about 110 degrees which should just feel warm to the touch. Warming the eggs increases the amount of air that you can whip into them.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
4. Sift the flour and salt together (with the cocoa powder if using).
5. Whip the eggs at high speed about 5 minutes – you cant over-whip them because they will reach a certain height in the bowl and then they wont go any higher.
6. Remove the whisk from the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, fold in one third of the butter, and one third of the flour. When adding the flour try to add it slowly so that it forms an even layer on the surface before you begin your folding.
Repeat until all the butter and flour are incorporated. Don’t over mix; it’s OK if there are small lumps of flour in the batter.
7. Pour the batter into your cake pan or cookie sheet (buttered and sugared). Spread batter evenly in pan.
Bake about 30 minutes for an 8” cake, or about 10 minutes for a sponge roll. Either way a toothpick or knife inserted into the cake at the center should come out clean.
8. Turn cake out onto a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
I hope that the way that I have presented this recipe will take the fear out of trying it. Please send me feedback as to how it could be simpler, or if more explanation is needed in any area.Let me know if you tried it and it worked out well, or if you had any problems.
Cooking should be One Part Knowledge and Two Parts Fun!