Learn how to bake the perfect sponge cake…
In my childhood, baking was an event and no wonder, considering there were no fancy kitchen gadgets to work with! The mixing bowl was a huge stainless-steel bowl and in place of the hand whisk was a wooden butter churn. My grandmother would set to work, beating the coarse granulated sugar and butter or cream, for what seemed like hours on end to produce the texture deemed smooth enough to add the eggs one by one for another bout of endless mixing. We kids would volunteer with the process and almost surely end up with blisters on our delicate palms. After the sifted flour was folded in by hand and the vanilla essence mixed in, it was transferred to the bowl which was the oven as well! We would then demand our share of the remnants of cake mix stuck to the bowl that always seemed tastier than the cake itself!
The oven was a contraption that would be placed on the gas flame over a ring of heated sand. All the cakes were doughnut-shaped because of the hole in the center. This oven was more trusted than the black box shaped electric oven, a showpiece, considering the erratic electricity supply in summers.
In an hour or so, the house would be filled with the delicious aroma of baking and we would wait in anticipation for the cake to be taken out and cooled. Those cakes had to be the tastiest I have ever eaten.
In this day of Betty Crocker mixes, one tends to choose the easy road. However, there is nothing more satisfying than baking a cake from scratch. I’m sharing with you a simple sponge cake.
Basis Sponge Cake
To start with measure the whole eggs. The rest of the ingredients will be the same measure as the eggs. One can alter the size of the cake by altering the number of eggs. Weigh the eggs and use the same measure of flour, sugar and butter.
Eggs – 3 large (at room temperature). This would weigh approximately 200gm
Unsalted butter- 200gm (at room temperature)
Sugar- 200gm measured then powdered.
Flour – 200gm
Milk- ½ cup (at room temperature)
Baking powder- 1 &1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round pan with butter.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder.
- In a bowl, beat the butter and eggs together until creamy.
- Add the eggs to the creamy mixture, one by one, continuing to beat vigorously.
- Add the milk and the vanilla extract.
- Put aside the hand whisk when it comes to the stage where the flour has to be added.
- Add the flour one large ladle at a time, sprinkling it over the mixture, carefully blending it by hand.
- Make sure that there are no lumps once all the flour has been added and then tip the mixture into the baking pan.
- Put it into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until the cake is well risen and leaves the side of the pan. The best test is to insert a wooden skewer in; if it comes away clean, you know the cake is well done.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake rack to cool for about 40 minutes.
- Dust the top with icing sugar and serve.
- This cake can be sandwiched with a layer of jam.
- It can also be topped with fresh cream and fruit.
- Combine with ¼ cup chopped walnuts before baking for a nice variation.