Wednesday, November 5, 2008

sponge cake

the first time i remembered having a freshly made sponge cake was back in september 1971 and i think it was a sunday. if it wasn't, then it was a saturday, but in my mind it was a sunday. my parents and i were at echo point park and we bumped into one of dad's architect friends, tony, and his wife, megan.
from echo point park, you could see this piece of land we had in castle cove. all we ever did when we first bought the land was just look at it. then the years passed and the novelty of looking at it wained. but i digress....
one thing led to another and we ended up at tony and megan's place and we had afternoon tea there. megan (who is jeff wiggle's sister....i know, small world...i also know jeff wiggle's mother) whipped up a sponge cake and dressed it with strawberries and cream.....can't remember if there was jam, but there definitely were strawberries.
i remember being so impressed that someone could just whip up a cake just like that while guests were there. i knew then and there i wanted to be as clever as that when i grew up. i thought i wanted to be able to just whip anything up at short notice. more recently, i did bump into megan, and she's still the very beautiful, tall, stylish and slender lady she was then. amazing how she hasn't changed. i did tell her about how inspirational she was; she didn't remember the occasion, but i'm glad i did.
this isn't megan's recipe, it's actually a recipe for a sponge roll which i use, and it's very quick and easy. the thiness of the cake really speeds things up so it's quick to bake, quick to cool and fill and ultimately quick to get onto the table.

3 eggs separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup wheaten cornflour
2 tablespoons hot milk
1/2 cup jam
300 millitres thickened cream
fresh berries

preheat oven to 180°C. line a 20 x 30cm swiss roll pan with baking paper.
using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until pale and thick.
sift self raising flour and cornflour over egg mixture.
drizzle boiling water around edge of bowl.
use a large metal spoon to gently fold ingredients together (don't over-mix).
pour mixture into prepared pan.
bake for 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
sprinkle an extra 1/4 cup of sugar onto a sheet of baking paper.
turn sponge straight from oven onto baking paper.
gently roll up sponge in paper. wrap in a tea towel.
set aside to cool.
whip the cream.
unroll sponge and remove paper.
spread jam, cream and berries on sponge.
reroll and slice to serve.

alternatively, slice the sponge in half lengthways and fill with berries, cream and jam and sprinkle with icing sugar. this is my favourite way of serving this cake - since you don't have to roll it, there can be lots of filling with not too thick layers of cake. yum.

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