Thursday, August 23, 2012

National Sponge Cake Day

Well it is another national day.  Today we celebrate sponge cake.  The nice thing about sponge cake is that you usually have all the ingredients in the pantry and it can really be dressed up or just simple.  The big decision will be how you wish to serve it.  You can serve it plain, drizzle it with chocolate, shake powdered sugar on it adding a few raspberries, add a flavored extract to it and/or make a butter cream frosting or glaze for it.  You can also make a roll, the traditional one in a angel food cake pan, a bunt cake pan, or a layered cake. The sky is the limit. 

Sponge Cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup salted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat room temperature eggs in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment on your mixer for 4 minutes.  

Add sugar and continue beating for another 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Add to eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined.

In a saucepan, heat milk and butter on low heat just until butter is melted.  Add to batter, beat just until combined.

Pour into your desired pan or pans.  You can make a round cake with two greased and floured 8" round or square cake pans, into an angel food cake pan, or into a log on a 17 x 12 inch sheet pan.

Bake at 325 degrees until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.

Because time will vary according to the pan you have picked just remember the cake or cakes are close to being done when you start to smell them. Check them as soon as you begin to smell.

Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray a 17 by 12 inch sheet pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and then butter and flour the paper or spray with vegetable/flour spray.  This process helps you roll the cake.

While the eggs are still cold, separate the eggs, placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature before using (takes about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  Let cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar with mixer on high speed, until this mixture is thick, light and fluffy (about five minutes).  When you slowly raise the beaters, the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.  Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat only to combine. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.

In a clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold a small amount of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture using a rubber spatula or whisk to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated.  (Don't over mix or the batter will deflate.) Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan with the back of a spoon, or an offset spatula. Bake until the cake is puffed, has lost its shine, and springs back when gently pressed, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cover the cake with a clean, slightly damp towel.

For the raspberry whipped cream, place your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar into the bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the jam and beat just until stiff peaks form.

Once the cake has cooled, spread with the whipped cream and gently roll the cake, peeling off the parchment paper as you roll. It can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

6 large eggs, separated
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Raspberry Whipped Cream

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/3 cup raspberry jam

Again, this cake may be made into the traditional style or a layered cake also.  You can decide what you want and how to serve it.  

Hope you make a sponge cake today.  Have a great National Sponge Cake Day.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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