~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, May 11, 2012

Classic Sponge Cake...great for making layered cakes or Tiramisu.

Classic Sponge Cake... great for making layered cakes or Tiramisu. I know this recipe might not be new to most, but I felt the need to add it to my "cookbook"( aka, recipe index)....for those days when I don't have time to make savoiardi... or when I need a simple sponge cake as a base for a quick dessert I want to make without too much fuss.

I've made plenty of foam cakes in my life... where eggs are used as the "leavening". There's the Genoise Cake... that's when whole eggs and sugar are beaten over a warm water bath until light and airy...then flour is added with a tiny amount of butter.

Then there's the Sponge Cake... where the eggs are separated; egg yolks are beaten with a bit of sugar until thick and lemon colored, and the egg whites are beaten until stiff and then folded in. There's no added fat in the sponge cake, and it's also a tad bit sweeter than the genoise.

In any case, both are great for using as a base to making all sorts of cakes. I've made both versions and have to say that I like them both. And because I love visiting Nicole's site at The Galley Gourmet, I thought to share her version of the sponge cake which inspired me to make this particular recipe.

The sponge cake is a great recipe to have on hand.... especially if you want to eliminate a store-bought package of lady fingers when making tiramisu or any other cake for that matter. The nice part is that you can actually make the sponge cake ahead, freeze it, and then pull it out the same day you plan on making a dinner dessert. It comes in handy when you want to make a quick tiramisu... or when you want to use up some leftover whipped cream, some fruits, mousse, preserves, pudding and the like.....just simply turn it into a trifle, or a cake. And if you aren't keen on a traditional tiramisu with coffee, there are other great options, such as a Limoncello Tiramisu or even a Pumpkin Tiramisu. Just recently Mihaela from De Prin Lume Adunate posted a Sour Cherry Tiramisu.... which looks delicious.

In any case, I'm posting this recipe as a reference for myself... and for any of you who would like to try it. Hope you enjoy...

Note: I made the Tiramisu based off of  James Martin's Tiramisu Recipe... used marsala wine and Kahlua to taste. His version only uses egg yolks, which are heated through, to make the cream.  So if you would like to try the recipe, just click on the link.

Tip: Room temperature eggs give more volume when they are beaten... though cold eggs are easier to separate. So separate cold eggs... and then bring the eggs to room temp(about 30 minutes or so) before beating. In a hurry, I've also warmed the eggs a bit by placing them in a bowl of hot water( bain marie style)... and then whisking them.

You will need: adapted from Galley Gourmet and originally from Joy of Baking

1 cup all purpose flour
2 TBS cornstarch
6 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 extra large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar*
1/3 cup granulated sugar

* Cream of Tartar is added when beating egg whites to stabilize the whites... it increases their tolerence to heat and provides better volume. I have to say that I've done sponge cakes before, where I didn't use cream of tartar, and I still had a nice rise, but if you want to be on the safe side, use the cream of tartar:)


Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
~Line a 9 1/2-inch(if you want to make a round layer cake) springform pan with parchment paper.
 ~Line a 11x17 inch rimmed cookie sheet pan( if you want to make a square/rectangle cake) with greased parchment paper....which is what I used.

1. In a mixer bowl, add the yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla.... beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow about 3 minutes.
~You can use other flavorings besides vanilla, depending on how cake is used... almond extract is good, I've even added lemon and orange zest.

2. Scrape the mixture into another large bowl and sift the flour evenly over the top, but do not mix in. Set aside.

3. Wash, clean, and completely dry the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the egg whites along with the cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form.

4. Gradually add the 1 /3 cup sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry.

5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/2 the egg whites into the floured egg yolk mixture you set aside earlier. Gently fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spread it out all the way to the edges, and smooth the top using an offset spatula... try to smooth it out as evenly as possible, without deflating the air out of the batter.
~If using a round 9 1/2 inch springform cake pan, bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly pressed and it has a light golden color.
~ If using a 11x17 inch rimmed baking pan, bake for 18-20 minutes or until top springs back when lightly pressed and it has a light golden color.

7. Slide a thin knife around the cake perimeter so that it loosens a bit....and let cool in the pan, on a rack for 10 minutes. Gently invert the cake and peel the parchment paper. Place on a rack right side up to cool completely.
I usually make the sponge cake at least a day before I assemble any cake. I wrap and freeze...and then defrost when I need it. I've also cut the cake in smaller pieces to freeze... this way I can defrost just enough for a couple of servings.  


Mihaela said...

Hi Ellie, it was so nice of you to mention my Sour Cherry Tiramisu. I used to make sponge cake a lot when I was way younger and soak it with syrup for cakes. I had to beat the egg whites by hand :) I can only say my cakes got better since :)) Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Ellie said...

Hi Mihaela, I think my husband would love your Sour Cherry version, as he loves cherries.

Those were the days when lots of baking steps were done by hand.... especially mixing and kneading. It's amazing how much I take the mixer for granted:)... it's funny but sometimes I make myself use the hand whisk just to remind myself how it's done normally:). Thanks for stopping by...

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused, what is the 2 Tbsp of cornstarch for?

Ellie said...

Anon, The 2 TBS cornstarch is added to mimic cake flour. Cake flour has a lower protein level than all purpose flour so most sponge cake recipes use cake flour instead to achieve a cake that's fluffy and tender. So adding the cornstarch was a substitution I made for the cake flour.

Hope that answers our question and thanks for stopping by.