Monday, May 13, 2013

let them eat cake

A and I have a cake recipe we've grown to rely on this last month. I've always hated dense cakes that are generally offered in american bakeries. due to the lack of asian bakeries here, we perused the internet for the sponge cake recipe. to our surprise we actually found one. A has baked this cake at least a handful of times now, so we know it's good! it's actually too good to not share.

baked chinese sponge cake

adapted from konichiwa kupcakes and tasty tidbits, where it was adapted from chocolate & zucchini. yield: one cake in an angel food cake pan.

it is essential NOT to use a non-stick cake pan for this recipe. the cake needs something to "hold" onto while it's rising. we tried baking it in a non-stick cake pan at first and our cake deflated despite us turning it upside down to cool. if you are adamant about using a non-stick cake pan, try lining it with parchment paper before pouring the batter in. it didn't work for us but it might for you. my recommendation, get a regular "stick" angel food cake pan.

1 cup + 1 tablespoon cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil

*i've never actually purchased cake flour. i don't feel a need to. if you're like me, then here is a substitute for cake flour. for every one cup of cake flour needed,  substitute it with one cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons. replace the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and sift together 3 times. voila. simple.

the morning or afternoon of: let eggs sit and come to room temperature. if you are rushed for time, let eggs sit in hot tap water for half an hour.

preheat the oven to 340 degrees fahrenheit (or 170 degrees celsius). you know your oven and how long it takes to preheat. i usually wait until i'm about 10 minutes from baking my cake to preheat the oven.

first, sift flour and baking powder together 3 times.

separate eggs. make sure absolutely no egg yolk gets mixed with the egg whites or it will not rise. make sure the bowl used for the egg whites is clean of all oils too.

in the bowl with the egg yolks, add salt, vanilla extract and 6 tablespoons of sugar. whisk for several minutes until the mixture turns pale yellow. slowly whisk in water and oil. whisk well before each addition. fold in the flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time until well blended. do not over mix.

in the bowl with the egg whites, add cream of tartar and remainder of sugar. whisk egg whites until stiff, about 5 minutes with an electric mixture. do not over beat the egg whites. you know it's done when the peaks are stiff and stay up on it's own.

fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the egg yolk batter. mix gently until blended. do not beat or whisk. gently fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites, gently lifting the batter up and over the egg whites with a rubber spatula until just blended.

pour the batter into the angel food cake pan. bake until set and golden brown, about 35 minutes. immediately after removing the cake pan from the oven, invert the pan onto a cooling rack so the cake will not collapse, and let it cool immediately. 

finally, enjoy your delicious sponge cake with a side of strawberries or home whipped whipped cream (i will include a tutorial another time).

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