One of the websites that i visit on a several daily basis (Overclockers Australia Forums) has a pretty active food section. People like to get in and share their food recipes and triumphs etc. There was one thing that piqued my interest. The Sponge Cake thread. I have always been afraid and yet mystified by sponge cakes. I have always loved how light and fluffy the cake is and how a simple cake can just be one of the most wonderful tastes.
Someone ended up posting a recipe for a CWA sponge cake. I thought to myself “i should try that sometime.” My dad’s birthday was fast approaching and I asked him if he minded if I took a stab at making a sponge for his birthday. My dad loves sponge cake. He always prefers the Sponge cakes you get from Woolworths (fake cream and all) and thats probably where I get my love of sponge cake from. So I thought to myself, I will make it from scratch for him. And I will also go all out, make the jam from scratch, and the icing. I wanted it to look like an old school sponge, kinda like this. I was really looking forward to this but in case it didn’t turn out I bought my dad a back up cake. I did not want him to go cakeless on his birthday. And in case it didn’t fail, it was cheap the back up cake so could be chucked/donated if necessary. Here it is, in all of its fake cakey goodness
This Morning was cake baking day. Since I don’t go out running or anything on Sunday mornings meant I could make my dad breakfast (and my mum to lest I never hear the end of the complaints from not doing it!) I would then have an empty kitchen to do what I need to do (and swear as much as possible if I need to). And so it began. I will put all the recipes right at the bottom.
First off you can see all of the ingrediants (just like one of my fav food websites Pioneer Woman does. The Cast of Characters
Pretty easy cake to. No flour, no butter. Cornflour, Castor Sugar, Eggs, Bi Carb, Cream of Tartar & Vanilla. Considering sponges have this lore of how difficult they are, I was looking at this thinking “wow… and this is meant to be scary”, I would soon find out why.
First thing after measuring out what I needed I greased and floured the two tins
I then set about beating up the Eggs & Sugar. Now this was meant to go on for 10 mins. So i set up the stand mixer.
So while this was going, I went to work triple sifting the dry ingrediants and getting that out of the way ready so that this could quickly be folded together and into the oven. But then disaster struck. The mixer was doing its job but was totally inadequate to the job. It just did not do anything good at all. So It was into the trash they went, stand mixer shoved out of the way and I pulled out the stab mixer with whisk attachment.
But again disaster struck. About half way in, the bowl was just getting way to full and going everywhere! So I had to get a bigger bowl. Stop the clock, grab a bigger bowl and restart the clock.
With that done it was time to mix the wet & dry together, into the Tins & into the oven. quick and easy. All up if it had not of been for the stuff up, a cake finished in half an hour with no real effort!
With the cakes in the oven I quickly tidied up and got started on the jam. This time I wasn’t going by any recipes, I was making it up as I went along.
Another cast of Characters. Rasberries, Lemon Juice & Agave Nectar. Why agave and not sugar, I was trying to be a little bit healthier and not use any sugar. The less sugar the better I guess. We will see how it turns out in the long run. I made some of this about a month back (using different fruit) and it lasted pretty good with the Agave.
Shove it all in the pot, turn on the heat and let it go. Simple as!
15 mins after going in, timer goes off, out come the cakes!
With the cakes out, it was back to the jam.
Then seriously after like 1 minute out i was slowly getting sad. I thought I had failed as this happened
I just let them sit for about 10 mins, turned them out onto a clean tea towel and walked away, thats right walk away (Alton Brown reference there, most of you wont get it)
I got back to focusing on the jam, wondering if it was going to set, was it going to be ok, the usual cooking panics
After a good 20 mins of cooking time, It was pretty cooked down and looked good, So I pulled the jam off the stove, placed it into a lovely sexy black plastic tray and into the Fridge to help it set.
I then left the house to go off and run errands and while I was out, I heard an ad for a Harvey Norman’s sale. I was tempted to go and buy a new stand mixer, one of the nice shiny ones. Ideally I would love a kitchenaid. Its the ones you see in every cooking show (Alton Brown’s has Flames!) and I wanted one so badly, but it cost $800! So not gonna happen. But There are some good more budgety models. Harvey Norman would do me one for $285.. down from $350… thats tempting. But I had to run off to the airport, so was going to come back. Then seeing as I was making good time to the airport (which is a whole other story) I stopped off at Good Guys, same mixer, retailing for $350… negotiations look good.. lets see if i have to pull the “harvey norman are offering it for less line” the conversation went like this.
Store Clerk: Can I help you with Something?
Me: Yeah, what kinda price can you do on this mixer?
Store Clerk: How you paying, cash or credit
Me: Credit card, I want the points
Store Clerk: What kinda card?
Store Clerk: can’t discount on amex, but if you have a visa or mastercard I can do a price
Me: Yeah i can do that (was hoping the payments to my mastercard had cleared but they didn’t)
Store Clerk: Types away at computer, comes back $245
Me: Really? $245?
Store Clerk: Yeah
Me: What colours you got
Store Clerk: White…. looks at other box Or White
Me: Thinks Ok I’ll take it
So back to the baking. With new mixer ready to go, I was going to decorate this cake, old school styles. Kinda. Now some of you may know that I have IBS, and one of the triggers is Cream. I can’t eat cream. And after a cake request from a friend (which will be shown to the blog in a few weeks time) I was hunting round for a “non dairy” topping that was used in another recipe that I needed. Now it looks like cream, whips like cream but its not diary, so why not give it a try in the lead up to the other cake to see how it turns out. Dad was ok with trying it so went ahead with it. It’s called Rich’n Smooth. Similar to “Cool Whip” in the states.
All you do is shove it in the bowl and start to whip it like you would cream. That’s it… simple as!
Unfortunately it whipped up a lot more than i expected but hey, what can you do!
Cake Assemble (I have to stop with the sad references, this one to the Avengers… u know Avengers Assemble… ok I will stop now). First Up. Jam onto the bottom layer of the cake. With the cake tops facing In so that the bottom and top are totally flat and level.
Then the “Cream” goes on next… nice thick layer (got player to spare)
And then on goes the other half of the cake.
Wow… its coming together! It looks almost complete, now for some old school icing. When my dad worked for a company called “William Brooks Publishing” they printed some really old school cook books. I am talking old school, hell it was targeted for School Age kids learning to cook in the 70s. So there is some old school stuff in there (even a recipe for making a cup of coffee). I figured, old school cook book is bound to have an old school icing recipe. None of this fondant icing as you would see on all the cake shows (although I do love watching Ace of Cakes). Recipe found time to make. Not content with plain icing.. i chose yellow. Cause i can…
Another Cast of Characters. Icing Sugar, Butter, Water, Vanilla & Food Colouring
Pretty simple recipe. sift icing sugar into mixer bowl (hell you could do it without the mixer but i wanna play with my new toy). Beat in the butter, add in the vanilla and a touch of water to form a paste. Add in some food colouring. ice your cake. how easy can you get!
Icing Sugar in Bowl…. Check
Butter, Water & Vanilla in bowl… mix away… Check
Food Colouring Added… Check
Time to finish this cake off. Spreading some of the icing on the top. Not to much to start with so that it doesn’t go to far over the sides, I want it to look pretty.
And here it is… the finished Cake:
But heres a better Look
So there you have it. Now to wait for dinner so that I can have my cake (and eat it to! hello weekly treat, although I did lick the icing bowl a little bit.. ok maybe the cream to 😉 )
Now for the recipes so you can try it yourself!
Corn Flour Sponge Sandwhich (CWA)
* 4 eggs
* ½ cup castor sugar
* 1 cup ‘Fielders’ Cornflour (i used homebrand)
* pinch salt
* 1 teas. cream of tartar
* ½ teas. bicarb soda
1. Preheat Oven to 180C
2. Grease 2 x 20cm deep-sided sponge tins, dust with flour.
3. Sift cornflour, bicarb. soda, & cream of tartar three times.
4. Beat eggs & sugar together for 10 minutes. (if using a stand mixer, make sure to have a whisk not beater attached)
5. Fold in sifted ingredients.
6. Divide mixture evenly between tins.
7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
8. Turn out onto clean tea towel.
9. When cold, join together with raspberry jam.
Day to Day Cookery – pg190
* 1 Cup Icing Sugar
* 2 Tablespoons Butter – Softened
* 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
* 1-2 Tablespoons Water or Milk
1. Sift Icing Sugar into a Bowl
2. Work in softened butter with a wooden spoon (I used the mixer)
3. Add sufficient Water (or milk) to make a smooth paste
4. Add Vanilla & Beat Well
5. Add Food Colouring if desired