Storified by Arya McLean· Sun, Apr 07 2013 17:56:32
A versatile cake for all occasions, sponge cake should be part of every baker’s repertoire. In this gourmet cooking recipe adapted from The Williamsburg Cookbook, only a few ingredients are needed to make a basic sponge cake that can be dressed up and decorated countless of ways. To make a simple sponge cake you need eggs, cake flour, sugar, vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and butter. With these simple ingredients you can make a light and fluffy cake that can be frosted, iced, sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with fresh fruits, coated in ice cream and frozen, covered in chocolate sauce or caramel sauce, topped with whipped cream, sprinkled with nuts, and so on.
As the name suggests, sponge cake is light and fluffy and absorbent. When it comes to making sponge cake, volume is important and bakers challenge themselves by making a fluffier sponge cake each time. Sponge cake tends to be on the dry side as opposed to rich and moist cakes. This makes they perfect for soaking in liqueur, strawberry or maple syrup, and chocolate sauces for moisture and flavor.
The eggs whip upbetter if they are at room temperature rather than chilled. One method making fluffy sponge cake is separating the egg yolks and egg whites and mixing and adding them separately. This technique is also used when making soufflé, the rising of which is a crucial element in successful baking. The egg yolks are beaten with the sugar until they are thick and obtain a lemon color. Use a beater or electric mixer for a thicker and more consistent texture. You know that the egg yolks are beaten perfectly when you lift up the beaters and a ‘ribbon’ forms on the surface as the mixture drops back to the bowl. Fold in the butter carefully to prevent the sponge cake from decreasing in volume, since the butter is dense.