To have a good sponge in your baking repertoire is like having a Swiss Army knife in your tool kit. This is the ultimate basic! After all the mouses, the cheeses and the entremets, it is getting increasingly easy to forget the Sponge. I spoke about my concerns over the Genoise sponge here and sometimes, I can’t help but feel that one of the reasons that so many have gravitated towards the more ‘fancy’ creations or settled for the more forgiving butter or pound cake because the sponge, as basic as it may be, is not easy to get right.
I also believe that certain western pastries are executed better by Asian chefs than their western parts. Clear examples are the Chiffon and the other is the basic Sponge. The best Chiffon and Sponge cake recipes I have come across are in Japanese or Taiwanese cookbooks – possibly due to the more extensive recipe developments to meet our preference for a lighter texture.
Tish Boyle’s Hot Milk Sponge Cake, is one of the simplest sponge cake I have come across so far that yields a decently moist sponge without the need for special aids like emulsifier or separate foaming of the yolks and whites.. For that, I applaud the recipe. However, having experienced much finer, almost chiffon like textures in some other Sponge recipes I have tried in Asian cookbooks, I am still left wanting… The rougher texture could be attributed to the fact that I had cut down the sugar quantity by half. The original recipe had used more sugar than flour which I was sure would turn out too sweet for me.
I am possibly being too picky,for if you were to scrutinise the crumbs, it is definitely more tender than a traditional genoise sponge. So for those who prefers a straight forward, gloriously moist sponge recipe, you will not be disappointed.
- 1½ cup(133g) Sifted cake flour
- 1¼ tsp Baking powder
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½cup (120ml) whole milk (I used 130ml)
- 4tbsp (57g) Unsalted butter
- 3 Large eggs
- ¾ cup (150g) Granulated sugar (I used 75g)
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350F or 175C.
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder and slat 2 times and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter and heat over medium heat just until butter is melted. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with bubble whisk attachment until well combined and frothy (1mins).
- Granually add in sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating at high speed for 6 mins until pale and tripled in volume.
- Sift one-third of flour mixture over egg foam and gently fold it with a rubber spatula. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions.
- Heat up milk mixture to just under a boil. Add it all at once to the egg mixture and gently fold it in to combine.
- Pour batter into a 9inch cake tin (I used a 6 inch cake tin and got a relatively thick cake plus a few muffin cups…)
- Bake the cake for 20 to 25mins until it springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10mins.
- Run a paring knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake into the wire rack and let it cool completely.