Making Sponge Cake

By: Allrecipes Staff  |  Photo by: allrecipes
Making Sponge Cake
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Sponge cakes are European-style cakes, like the French génoise (zhehn-WAHZ), and are the foundation of your cake-building repertoire. These simple tips will help you make a great cake.
A Classic
Sponge cakes are easy to cut into shapes and are used in cakes with layers, Swiss rolls, and tiramisu. Madeleine biscuits are also a version of sponge cakes.

Timing
• Have all of your ingredients measured and sifted and ready to go in separate bowls (you'll need plenty of counter space and equipment to make a sponge).
• Your cake pans should be dusted and greased, and your oven preheated: sponge cake batter waits for no one.
Technique
It is all about the eggs.
• Warmed eggs hold more air and create more volume when they're whipped than cold eggs.
• Whipping egg whites separately from egg yolks adds even more volume to a sponge cake batter.
• Egg yolks should be beaten with sugar until they're thick and lemon-colored; when you lift up the beaters, a "ribbon" should form on the surface as the mixture drops back into the bowl.
• Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, but the eggs are not dry.
• Use a big bulbous whisk to fold the whipped eggs into the batter for best results, stirring gently until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is lightened. (A rubber spatula, plastic bowl scraper, or even your hands also work well.)
Warming the Eggs
Use a stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Sugar has an insulating effect, and helps protect the eggs from coagulating over the heat. Add a few tablespoons of the sugar from the recipe into your egg whites, and whisk it in. Keep whisking the eggs while you heat them, testing now and then with your fingertip until they feel warm to the touch. When the egg whites (or yolks--whatever you're heating) are warm, transfer them to your mixing bowl and whip until medium-stiff peaks form.
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