Celebrating a Friend’s Birthday w/Strawberry Sponge Cake

23 Jan

Today is my friend’s birthday, but because her family decided to hog her this weekend, which I totally respect because they get dibs first, a couple of us decided to throw her a mini party at school. We had planned to bring a bunch of balloons, presents, cards, and cake. My friends divided up the tasks. They insisted that since I was her best friend and since they know me as the enthused baker, they gave me the job – or rather pleasure – of baking the cake. What kind of cake was completely up to me. Having no boundaries means endless opportunities!

I decided to make a simple vanilla sponge cake with strawberries. I planned to bake the sponge cake, then slice it in half and sandwich strawberries and whipped cream in between the two halves. This may not sound that hard, but for me, a person who does not usually bake cakes (I’m a bread-pastery baker by heart), this was a daunting challenge since I had only made sponge cake once before … whipping the egg whites by hand. Let me tell you, if you have not whipped egg whites until they were denatured and foam-y and fluffy, then the hand and arm cramping experience has almost no comparison. Muscles I did not know that I had hurt. But this time, I was hoping that it would be easier since I had my handy-dandy mixer!

Oh, was I wrong. So many other things got complicated, like my lack of a third egg, caster sugar, and proper whipping cream; and a recipe in gram measurements. It was almost like a mad dash to the finish line while wearing scuba diver flippers. However, I was not going to fail my best friend, Mish, so I ran that race and though I did not end up winning the race, I was not the last runner either. The cake turned out pretty well and every slice was eaten Friday afternoon at lunch time. The table was filled with smiles, the biggest one being on Mish’s face. No Bay Area fog could rain on our parade. :)

Here is the recipe that I got from Happy Home Baking so you can try it. If you can measure out the correct measurements and use the exact ingredients, then I think it will turn out okay.

Strawberry Sponge Cake

Recipe adapted from Happy Home Baking; procedure adapted from Joy of Baking

Strawberry Sponge Cake

I did not have time to make the proper whipped cream; I ended up using the can whipped cream, which is a big no-no. The choclate frosting was the Betty Crocker stuff, which worked fine.

Ingredients

Sponge Cake

  • 100 grams cake flour
  • 3 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 90 grams caster sugar, divided
  • 2 tbl milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 tsp cream of tartar

Cream Filling & Frosting

  • 300mL whipping cream
  • 250g strawberries, sliced; plus more for topping

Procedure

  1. Sift cake flour, set aside. Line bottom and sides of an 18cm (7 inch) round pan with parchment paper, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 170degC (338F). Position rack at the lower bottom of the oven. (If you do not have parchment paper, grease the pan generously).
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and 45g sugar on HIGH speed for about 5 minutes until batter is thick and pale yellow color. When the beater is lifted, the batter should fall down in slow ribbons. At this point, beat in the milk and vanilla extract.  Poor the yolk batter to the flour but do not mix or fold in yet.
  3. With a clean bowl attached to the electric mixer, whisk the egg whites on HIGH speed for about 5 to 7 minutes until the batter doubles in volume and fluffy and foamy with soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the rest of the sugar until the egg whites are shiny and stiff peaks form. See video for more information. This step is most critical!
  4. Gently fold the whites into the batter to lighten it in small increments. Be careful not to over mix or else you risk deflating the cake batter.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with your spatula.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Unmold and invert onto cooling rack, cool completely.

  7. While the cake is baking, whip the whipping cream still stiff.On
  8. Once the cake has cooled completely, slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Spread about 1/4 of the whipped cream over the bottom layer with cut side up. If the top half of the cake has a prominent protruding bowl top, you may want to slice off that bowl part so that the top is flat.
  9. Then arrange the sliced strawberries on the cream and add about 1/4 more of cream on top. Finally add the top half of the cake to sandwich the strawberry cream layer.
  10. With remaining cream, spread the whipped cream over the top and side of the cake. Decorate as desired.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you.

How the Strawberry Sponge Cake should turn out

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