Submitted by Chaya Sara Fisher
Our family is made up of many gifted home cooks and our combined recipe repertoire is enormous. But when the occasion is serious, like an impending engagement, the question everyone asks is “Who will make the sponge cake?”
Sponge cake, an old family recipe, initially made by my grandmother’s mother, is my signature cake. Elegant in its simplicity, yet simple enough for Shabbos at home, it is our house specialty. My grandmother taught me to make it as a teenage; it was her specialty before she developed Parkinson’s. Now I make it for her and for my family, just the way she taught me.
The ingredients are basic, this cake is all about technique.
Remove the insert of the tube pan. Cut a piece of silver foil slightly longer than the diameter of your pan. Tear the foil into a circular shape, slightly larger than the diameter of the pan, using the insert as a guide. Fold the foil circle around the underside of insert and place into the tube pan. This is to prevent any drips. Do not grease pan.
Prepare 4 bowls on your work surface.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment and the yolks into one of the bowls on your work station.
In the second bowl, prepare the sugars.
In the third bowl, pour in the oil and juice and the zest.
In the fourth bowl, prepare the flour and baking powder.
Turn your mixer on high speed. As soon as the whites start foaming, lower the mixer speed and gradually add the sugars. Increase the mixer speed and beat until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the egg yolks, one at a time. Without shutting the mixer, drizzle in the oil and juice mixture. Add the flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Immediately invert the tube pan and cool to room temperature. When the cake is cool, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to release it and invert it onto a cake dome. Use a knife to release the top of the cake in the same manner. Wow.