Chocolate Sponge Cake

Offspring requested sponge cake for the upcoming birthday weekend. I love to cook, though I’d never tried anything vaguely close to a sponge cake. Game on.

Found this recipe through Pinterest, along with a note that it “was adapted from Neo Sook Bee who adapts from xingfuzhiwei.” Translation from Far East Asian sources resulted in something resembling English. For example the “cooked dough” method employed sounded a bit off, and the directions lacked a few key points for a clueless baker like me. Ultimately this dessert comes from old Deep South traditions in the US, and I was fortunate to have native experts assisting. MissyLou Howard Bailey graciously modified a couple important points, and my mom-in-law Marsha McCary helped throughout execution, especially to preclude what would’ve been disasters on my part.

Yields: one layer, relatively deep

Candles and Noms w/ Offspring

Batter:

  • 85 g plain flour
  • 15 g cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 125 ml milk (we use raw milk)
  • splash of white vinegar
  • 70 g coconut oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 100 g sugar

Method:

  1. line the base of an 8″ round springform pan with parchment paper, but do not grease the sides
  2. sift the cocoa powder, flour, and salt together — sifting twice, to add air
  3. add a splash of white vinegar to the milk and let sit to curdle for 5 minutes, to create a buttermilk flavor
  4. separate the eggs
  5. heat the oil in a saucepan on low, until it just starts to circulate (70C)
  6. remove oil from heat and immediately add the flour+cocoa mix, whisking until smooth; here’s where the batter “cooks”
  7. stir in the soured milk — the batter should become thick and lumpy
  8. add the egg yolks and whisk by hand until the batter is smooth, then transfer into a large mixing bowl and set aside
  9. beat the egg whites until foamy, gradually adding sugar; continue until firm peaks form
  10. add 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk batter; fold in the next 1/3 portion; finally, add the last portion using a spatula to fold batter gently up from bottom; make sure that no more yolk batter is separate from the meringue
  11. pour into the prepared pan and bake at 190C atop a water bath for 15 minutes
  12. lower oven to 145C, then bake another 60 minutes or until the cake bounces back when you press lightly on the top
  13. remove pan from oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then invert on a plate (like with a chiffon cake)
  14. cool completely before unmoulding and icing the cake

Ganache:

  • 100 ml whipping cream
  • 200 g chocolate chips (we mixed semi-sweet with dark)
  • 20 g sweet butter

Method:

  1. warm the cream, then add chocolate and let sit 5 minutes
  2. stir until the chocolate is fully melted
  3. add butter and stir until the finish is smooth and glossy
  4. after icing, refrigerate the cake overnight before nomming

Notes:

Post-Nomming

Texture of the cake itself is ultra light, not particularly sweet, and feels a bit dry. Drizzling each layer of the cake with a fruit puree, liqueur, etc., before icing can do wonders.

OTOH, the ganache is super rich. Once the icing hardens, the combo result isa nice contrast in textures.