Friday, March 20, 2009

The perfect sponge cake

After years of trial and error, I have perfected my sponge cake! And now I shall cackle like a mad scientist. Bwaahahahahahaha! It's ALIIIIIIIIVE!

No, I didn't make it up from scratch. I originally got it out of a microwave cookbook my aunt gave me years ago, memorized it, lost the original recipe, forgot it, half-remembered and half-improvised it, tweaked it, substituted plain flour for cake flour, took out some baking powder, fudged the oil-to-milk ratio, put back some baking powder, found a better way of mixing it, and finally I'm happy with it.

It doesn't taste of baking powder, it rises a good amount, it doesn't collapse into a pancake on the bottom, it isn't dry, and it isn't lumpy.

It is so smooth and so fluffy and so moist. Just like the cupcakes you get from Chinese bakeries. I suppose it's not even a true sponge cake because it contains egg yolk and oil, but it sure tastes like one. Any food scientist care to explain why the addition of fat doesn't seem to collapse the air out of it?



3 eggs - separate the whites and yolks, keep the yolks
1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
2. Whisk egg whites and sugar together until stiff peaks form
3. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt together.
4. Add milk, vegetable oil, egg yolks, and vanilla essence to the flour and mix well.
5. Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites
6. Pour into ungreased 5" X 9" loaf pan/cake tin, and bake for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
7. Cool upside-down. (Balancing the corners of the cake tin on the rim of a saucepan is a good strategy). Pry from edges of cake tin with knife, and tip it out.


MooCow said...

You added a leavening agent AND you made a meringue, which also "lifts" the cake, so the addition of a little fat didn't keep the cake from rising.

Kiwiyarns said...

I LOVE the sponges from Chinese bakeries. Now I'm living in NZ, I can't find that kind of sponge any more. :-(

Thanks for the post! I'll have a go at baking this and hopefully we'll have Chinese sponges once again. :-)