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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sponge Cake for Petit Fours!

I have been planning a Bridal Shower for my daughter.  Yes, some may think this is inappropriate for the mother of the bride to plan a shower for her daughter.  My mother planned one for me in my home town.  She had put an open invite in the local paper, the Maple Leaf and then prepared an awesome lunch along with all her home baking dainties.  My fiancé was told to not tell me as it was a surprise for me.  My dear husband who can not tell a lie, just went along with what I wanted to do, so that he would not blow the surprise.  We arrived late with a storm developing to see white tablecloths flapping in the wind with everyone inside.  My Mom had converted the backyard to a beautiful setting with circular picnic tables covered with white tablecloths and vases filled with lavender Lilacs.   Inside the house was packed as I was greeted by those that had known me all my life, included some of my elementary school teachers.  How flattering that was!

I think of this beautiful shower as I plan one for my daughter.
I enjoy the planning aspect as I look through my cookbook collection and surf the net for the last couple of weeks.
My list has enlarged as I look for recipes I can freeze. My theme will be a modern version of High Tea celebrated with Bubbly and Strawberries in Hats, Pearls, Gloves and Lace.

I have studied some of the videos on making Petit Fours as I want to do a sponge cake version.  I have made a sponge cake a couple of times but was not pleased with the volume or height of the cake. I made a chocolate jelly roll stuffed with strawberries and whipping cream for my husband's birthday, a Canadian Living recipe.

As I looked at the videos, memories of my Mom came to mind as she made jelly rolls filled with lemon filling often on the farm.  I imagine the ready supply of eggs was the reason for the sponge cake, but also her skill in making this beautiful full jelly roll!  I remember her delicately transferring the cake to a dusted tea towel with icing sugar and rolling the cake to rest.

I studied two sponge cake recipes, the recipes were similar using 6 eggs, one cup of flour and sugar each with added vanilla extract.  One recipe separated the eggs, where as the other used the whole egg.. The eggs needed to be at room temperature and the secret seemed to be beat the egg mixture for 5 minutes.  The eggs can be soaked in hot tap water so that they are room temperature before using

Folding in the stiffen egg whites in to the egg yolk mixture carefully so the mixture does not deflate.

I decided to separate the egg and whip the egg white first, then whipped the egg yolk until fluffy and a lemon color.  This step my Mom always did.

Not being a baker, this made two extra steps of gradually folding in the yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites. then  folding in the flour into the mixture.  Mom would fold this in with very strong folds using a spatula.  I must say I was nervous doing this but the mixture did not deflate before spreading the batter into the prepared cookie sheet or as my Mom called it the jelly roll pan.

The cake cooked quicker than the suggested20 minutes, I took it out in 15 minutes.

The next step was to cut it in thirds, layer with two different jams that had been strained to get rid of the seeds or rind.

I cut the strips into thirds but the pieces could have been smaller yet.

The chocolate glaze was done twice as the first time I added cream to the mixture as it was too thick and when heated it did separate.  I did remake the chocolate glaze, but still found the mixture was too thick and did not pour easily, needed to be spread with a knife, so thicker than I would have liked.  The recipe was looking for a glaze but as in the picture below the glaze was more an icing.. Perhaps using icing sugar and adding lemon juice to make a glaze that is thick, yet pourable would have achieved the desired look. 

Basic Sponge Cake recipe

6  eggs
1 cup flour

1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
baking sheet,non stick spray, parchment

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F 
  • Prepare cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, spray and line with parchment paper.
  • Separate the egg whites from egg yolks
  • Beat the egg whites with a mixer or whisk the whites until fluffy and stiff
  • Sift  flour, baking powder and salt together
  •  Add the sugar and butter (optional) to the yolks, whisk until thick and creamy
  • Fold egg yolk mixture into stiffen egg whites.
  • Fold flour using 1//3 c each time until well mixed.
  • Do not overmix
  •  Spread this mixture evenly 
  • Bake it in the oven for 22 to 25 min until done
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