MAS­TER­CLASS A step-by-step guide to mak­ing sponge cake.

Few know the art of bak­ing like LOR­RAINE GODSMARK of Lor­raine’s Patis­serie. She shares her method for mak­ing light, fluffy sponge.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Nov -

When it comes to bak­ing, a go-to sponge recipe is es­sen­tial to any reper­toire. This one is light and ver­sa­tile; it can be used for all types of desserts, in­clud­ing layer cakes, sponge fin­gers for Char­lottes and tiramisù, and it’s also great lay­ered with cus­tard in a tri­fle. The key to this sponge not los­ing vol­ume is nei­ther un­der- nor over-whip­ping the egg­white, but whip­ping it to thick, glossy, firm peaks, then gen­tly fold­ing it into the bat­ter and lightly spread­ing it in the tray. This sponge can made up to a day in ad­vance or stored in the freezer for when­ever the call for light, fluffy cake comes.

Step by step

1

Pre­heat oven to 160°C fan-forced (see note). Whisk 12 egg yolks with 160gm caster sugar and ½ tsp vanilla ex­tract in an elec­tric mixer on medium speed un­til very light and creamy. Trans­fer to a large bowl.

2

Clean and dry elec­tric mixer, then whisk 12 egg­whites on medium speed un­til soft peaks form. With the mixer still run­ning, grad­u­ally add 200gm caster sugar un­til in­cor­po­rated. Whisk un­til meringue is glossy and thick with firm peaks (if it’s dull and grainy, it has been over-whipped).

3

Sift 240gm plain flour over the yolk mix­ture in the bowl. Spoon all the meringue on top of the flour, then gen­tly fold in the flour and meringue all at once with a large whisk. Do this care­fully to keep the vol­ume; if you are too ag­gres­sive or the egg­white isn’t stiff enough, the mix­ture will be runny and you’ll end up with a flat sponge; you also won’t be able to pipe sponge fin­gers (see above right).

4

Gen­tly spread the sponge bat­ter evenly to 1cm thick over two 20cm x 30cm bak­ing trays lined with bak­ing pa­per (you may have some bat­ter re­main­ing). Bake the sponges, swap­ping trays halfway through cook­ing, un­til golden brown and they spring back when lightly pressed (16-20 min­utes).

5

Lift the sponges with the bak­ing pa­per from trays, flip over onto an­other sheet of bak­ing pa­per and re­move the top sheet of pa­per. Cool the sponge sheets on a wire rack.

6

Cut the sponges to the de­sired shape and size with a ser­rated knife. If you’re not us­ing the sponge straight away, store it in an air­tight con­tainer for a day or in the freezer wrapped in plas­tic wrap for a month. Thaw at room tem­per­a­ture be­fore use.

Note Fan-forced ovens are good for bak­ing sponges, with the fan help­ing to lift the sponge and giv­ing it more vol­ume; for a con­ven­tional oven, bake at 180°C.

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