Basic sponge cake is a divine dessert made primarily of eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda and flavoring, dependant on the levity provided by the whipped eggs for its magnificent ability to soak up fruit sauces, glazes, jams and puddings. Fortunately, there are many simple sponge cake recipes from which you can choose as you explore the territory of the incredible edible sponge cake.
History of Sponge Cake
Sponge cakes became popular during the Renaissance era, first as little spongy biscuits much like modern day ladyfinger sponge cakes, and then as light, airy cakes that were often served with fruit sauces, jam or pudding. It is recognized as one of the first cakes to be made without the use of yeast. Sponge cakes became especially popular in England, becoming almost an icon of sorts, with the Victoria Sandwich or Victoria Sponge Cake being the dessert of choice in England for quite some time.
The Victorian Sandwich was actually created for and served by Queen Victoria herself around the time that teatime became popular in England (in the 1850s). This dessert is still popular in Great Britain today.
How to Make Sponge Cake
Sponge cakes depend on the whipping of eggs for their height and spongy texture. Any sponge cake you make will require a good deal of eggs, the use of an electric mixer and something saucy or pudding-like to add moisture to the cake when eaten. Because sponge cakes themselves are rather bland, they are used as the base for such desserts as shortcakes or trifles.
Quick and Easy Sponge Cake Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need:
¾ cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour a nine-inch square baking pan.
Combine the flour and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter in a separate container.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until the mixture is thick and a ribbon forms when you lift the beaters. The mixture should be light yellow in color and appear thick. This should take about ten minutes of beating, so don't get impatient.
With a wide spatula, fold in the flour mixture just until incorporated, disturbing the egg and sugar mixture as little as possible. Then fold in the butter carefully, again folding as little as possible while still incorporating the ingredients.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake the cake until the center is springy and rebounds when touched gently in the center, usually about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack while in the pan for ten minutes. Run a knife along the perimeter of the pan, then invert the pan onto the cooling rack and let the cake cool completely.
Serve the cake with fruit compote, cooked fruit in its juices, pudding or whipped cream.
Hot Water Sponge Cake
If you want a higher rising sponge cake made in the traditional sponge cake pan or tube pan, try the recipe listed below. It will produce a cake with great height and phenomenal sponginess.
Ingredients You Will Need:
6 large eggs
1¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom only of a tube pan.
Crack eggs into a small bowl and let eggs set until they are room temperature.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside for later.
Heat water and butter in a pan on the stove until boiling. Remove from heat.
Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with electric mixer on high speed for approximately five minutes, or until eggs are double in volume. Continue beating eggs, but add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon until all the sugar is incorporated. Beat in vanilla, then reduce mixer speed to low. Sprinkle in dry ingredients (you may want to use a sifter) as you beat the batter on low speed, making sure not to leave any lumps. Finally, add the hot water and butter mixture and beat until all ingredients are well blended.
Pour batter into tube pan. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until utensil comes clean when inserted in center of cake. Invert pan and allow cake to cool completely.
Variations of Sponge Cake Recipes
Lemon Sponge Cake
Add one tablespoon of grated lemon peel to the batter before cooking. Serve with lemon curd or lemon meringue.
Victorian Sponge Cake
To make this traditional treat, bake a simple sponge cake using either of the recipes listed above. Slice the sponge cake into fingers and spread the tops of the layers with a fine jam or preserves. Press the layers together into sandwiches and serve with a side dish of homemade whipped cream for dipping. Enjoy!
Amaretto Custard Sponge Cake
Bake the basic sponge listed above, but after cooling the cake, soak one side of the cake in about a quarter inch of Amaretto until the cake has sucked up the liqueur. Make a simple custard out of milk, egg yolks, sugar and Amaretto, and serve the cake with a dollop of custard on top of the liqueur-soaked cake.
Like anything you bake, learning how to make a cake is part art and part science. The first step is choosing what kind of cake you want to make and then using the best quality ingredients you can find and measuring them carefully. Be sure to follow the recipe's instructions for mixing and soon you may find that when you make a cake, you're not only creating something tasty, but expressing your own creativity through baking.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a dessert that isn't made better by the addition of strawberries, and your family is sure to love either of these quick and easy cake recipes.