Here is a basic Sponge Cake recipe, with tips on How to make the perfect Sponge Cake, and also some suggested flavor variations at the end. Hope you like them! [Image courtesy of Wikimedia]
Tips & Techniques
* Sponge cake gets it characteristic Spongy texture and rise solely from the air whipped into the eggs. The eggs need to be at room temperature and the egg yolks and sugar are beaten until thick, light, and fluffy which can take as long as five minutes. This long beating time is necessary to give the baked cake its full volume, and the spongy texture, so do not compromise on this very crucial step!
* Care must be taken when folding the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to ensure that the batter does not deflate too much. A few quick strokes with a rubber spatula or large balloon whisk are all that is needed.
* It is important to use an un-greased tube pan with a removable bottom to give the cake support as well as making it easier to remove. The pan is left ungreased so the batter can cling to the sides of the pan as it bakes and allows the cake to reach its full volume. The hole in the middle of the pan allows the hot air to circulate and reach the center of the cake.
* Once the cake is baked, it should be immediately inverted so the baked cake will maintain its volume and the air pockets do not collapse and shrink the cake down as it cools.
Basic Sponge Cake Recipe
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
Zest of 1 medium lemon
1 cup (100 grams) sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Have ready an ungreased two-piece 10 inch (25 cm) tube pan.
For Sponge Cake: Separate the eggs while they are still cold, and cover the whites and yolks with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming on the egg yolks and the whites from drying out. Let the yolks and whites reach room temperature before using (this will take about 30 minutes). Having the yolks and whites at room temperature will ensure that the eggs reach their full volume when beaten.
Meanwhile sift and measure the cake flour and then whisk the flour with 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar. Measure another 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar and set aside for beating with the egg whites.
Place the final 1/2 cup (100 grams) of granulated white sugar in your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Add the egg yolks and beat on high speed for about five minutes, or until they are thick, fluffy and light colored (when you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon).
At this point beat in the vanilla extract, water, and lemon zest. Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the batter but do not fold in. (You will fold the flour mixture into the batter along with the beaten egg whites.)
In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are shiny and stiff peaks form. Gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites, folding just until incorporated. Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter. Pour the batter into the tube pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with your spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert. If your tube pan does not have feet then place on top of a bottle or bowl. Cool for at least one hour before unmolding. Run a spatula or sharp knife around the inside of the pan and then remove the center core of the pan. Then run the spatula or knife along the bottom and center core of the pan. Invert the cake onto a greased wire rack.
This beautiful Sponge Cake can be served plain with a dusting of confectioners sugar, some fresh fruit and softly whipped cream.