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March 28, 2010

THE BOOYAH COOK: SPONGE

Wassup?!

Question: If I did a macaron making workshop who would want to come along?

For me on a Sunday, after reading the latest psychiatrist report about myself – so weird – am trialling another macaron recipe – this time in the hope of make triple the quantity I usually do. And pretty much BOOYAH I think I did it. Only the feet are kind of on the large side, some more developments to go.

Anyway you all know that I love cooking and in particular cakey patisserie kind of stuff. Let’s take a look at some of the previous achievements:

My version of the Australian Birthday Cake: sponge, strawberries, passion fruit cream. Oh and the cat serviettes my mum made when she was 20.

Plain sponge with cream cheese icing [so not sickly sweet] and gold leaf.

I’m not really into super extravagant decoration and like things to be quite simple. Of course, go to town with the sugar craft if you want. But even at the cake fairs for sugar craft, the judges still check the cake that is underneath is okay.

Today I am going to share with you my NO FAIL recipe for GENOISE SPONGE which will come out banging on the first go.

But here are the chef’s secrets:

1] Preheat the oven. Instant cake fail guaranteed if you don’t.

2] Line the bottom of the baking tin with a circle baking paper. Buttering and flouring a tin is okay, but doesn’t always mean the cake will come out. It also leaves a kind of weird surface. [You can see on the top of the cake that there was flour in this tin. Not a good look.]

3] Get all the ingredients measured out & prepared before you start. This recipe calls for keeping as much air in it as possible so if you are pissing about with measuring flour or melting butter it won’t give the eggs time to deflate.

EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED

A big bowl
Electric mixer [I have the cheapest Kenwood Handmixer in the world]
2 cake tins 16, 18 or 20 cm in diameter
A big metal spoon

INGREDIENTS

5 eggs
150 grams castor sugar
150 grams PLAIN flour
60 grams of butter, melted

IN ACTION

1] Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius or 356 degree Fahrenheit

2] Grease the edges of the two cake tins and put circles of baking paper in the bottom. Trust me, if you snooze on this you lose.

3] Melt the butter on the stove. When melted, take the saucepan off the hotplate and leave on the side till ready.

4] Crack 5 eggs in the bowl with the castor sugar. With the electric beaters, on the highest speed, whip the ingredients together until the eggs and sugar turn to an oofy mousse like mixture. It will take 10 minutes. It will have about quadrupled in size and start to be really thick.

5] Sift the 150 grams of plain flour over the egg mousse. Fold it in gently with the metal spoon. Folding is more like drawing backwards number sixes in the mixture, taking the spoon out and starting again. Don’t stir it like a maniac because you will beat all the air out. The folding won’t take too long. Remember when folding, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl every now and again so there are no pockets of flour left.

6] Tip the melted butter around the inside rim of the bowl. Fold it through the same way.

7] Pour the mixture into your prepared tins splitting it 50-50

8] Bake them together in the oven for 15-18 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR BEFORE 15 MINUTES ARE UP. There are two ways to check they are cooked.
a – Poke the top of the cake gently with your finger. If it makes a tiny dent and doesn’t spring back, put it in for a another 3 minutes.
b – With a skewer, stick it in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is cooked. If goey cake mix sticks to it, put the cake back in.

9] When the cakes appear cooked, take them out of the oven and let them stand in the tin for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges. Flip them onto a cake rack and peel off the baking paper. BOOYAH. Perfect.

Genoise sponge is a traditional French and Italian cake and used as the basis of many different recipes. When the cakes have cooled, you can pour sugar syrup, alcohol [think Calvados, Frangelico, Amaretto not Lager] over the cake before decorating. You can also cut the cakes into thinner discs to make many layers sandwiched with cream, chocolate mouse, ganache, whipped cream, fruit or whatever. Or if you are like my cleaner Dora the Ignorer, you will just like them plain, break them up with your hands and eat chunks of it with a cup of tea.

The sponge can be cooked in any size tin and in any shape. It can also be piped if you are in the mood for making Cats Tongues. Just think about the size of the cake and how long it will take in the oven. And most of all, think about having me over for afternoon tea.

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