Today is my Mum's eightieth birthday and I am making her favourite sponge cake for her big day. It occurred to me that you might like to taste it too and rather than invite the whole of blogland for one cake - here is the recipe so that you can make it yourself.
I can remember making sponges with my Nana in Australia in the seventies and she was SUCH a good cook too. This one is fairly straightforward but beware of a few things:
-use very fresh eggs - stop just short of holding your hand under a hen and waiting with a stopwatch.
-beat the whites first and use very clean beaters. The egg whites hold the key to the much need air to make the cake a sponge.
-lay everything out before you begin so that you don't have to run around looking for things midway. The egg whites will not stay beaten forever.
Okay, here we go!
Gather these supplies:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup cornflour
2 heaped teaspoons plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Here's how you do it:
Preheat the oven to moderate (about 180 degrees celsius on most appliances) and then prepare two 20cm round cake pans by lightly greasing and lining the bottoms with baking paper.
Separate the eggs into two large bowls. sift the dry ingredients into a third bowl and put them aside for the minute. Beat the egg whites until peaks just form. Don't over beat because you will dry them out.
Here is what they should look like....
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until they are thick, pale and creamy.
With a metal spoon (kitchen chemistry at work here) fold the dry ingredients into the egg yolks until they are mixed.
TIP: use big circular movements to add even more air.
Now take the same metal spoon and add one large (as much as the spoon will hold) scoop of beaten egg white. Fold this in with those big circular strokes, now add all of the rest of the whites in the same manner. Don't overmix.
Place half the mixture into each of the two cake pans and bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes. This will depend on your oven to a certain extent as all cook know. Don't open the door to check. have a look at the cake and see if it is starting to shrink back from the sides of the pan.
Allow the cake to cool a little in the tin and then turn out onto a rack to cool properly.
It is normal for the cake to shrink back a little when it cools. Trust me, you have done nothing wrong.
Mum's favourite treatment for this cake is passionfruit icing and whipped cream in the middle. I think that you are good to make the whipped cream and here is the icing recipe. It is a real Australian favourite and just tastes sunny!
50g good quality unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups icing sugar
pulp of three passionfruit.
Take a bowl and strain the passionfruit onto the softened butter through a fine sieve. Add some seeds back into the icing again. Not an essential step but it looks better to my mind.
Now very gently fold in the icing sugar until the icing is stiff but not impossible to handle.
This beautiful and fragrant icing is naturally a gorgeous yellow and it tastes just divine. Make it a couple of hours before you need it if you can because this will allow the flavours to mellow. Ice the top of the cake with this.
Here is the finished result again...
I made Mum a card too...
Have a lovely birthday Mum!