Monday, January 21, 2013

Simple Asian Sponge Cake

     The truly fantastic about Asian bakeries is the sponge cake.  A simple, fluffy cake with whipped cream filling, it may not look like much.  But once you take your first bite, I'm sure you'll fall in love with it.  Just like I am.  
My grandma's handwriting
     The flavor is truly unique.  And once I learned that I could recreate it at home, I was super excited.  I got the recipe from my grandma.  She's an amazing cook, but doesn't make dessert much.  She wrote down this recipe in Chinese after learning from one of her friends, and I was afraid that after my mom translated it for me, some of the details would be lost in translation.  So I took some guesses and fixed some things based on my previous knowledge, and the result was fantastic!  Soft and pillowy, just like the ones from the bakery. It's so cool how such a thing can come out of essentially 5 ingredients.

      The first step is to separate ten eggs.  And don't get one drop of yolk in the whites.  Then beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and then add half of the sugar and mix.  
These eggs need to be separated. 

  • Make sure the beaters and bowl are grease-free.  To do this, you can rub lemon juice on the utensils.
  • Egg whites separate more easily when cold.
  • Chill the bowl and beaters for a bit in the freezer.
  • Don't over-beat the egg whites, or they won't have room to expand while baking.  

      Once that is done, it's time to deal with the rest of the ingredients.  The flour part is a bit tricky.  The recipe says to use 2/3 cups of cake flour, but to sub a bit of it with all-purpose flour so as to prevent the cake from falling. How much, I don't know.  So what I did was put two tablespoons of AP flour into a bowl on a scale and then filled the bowl with cake flour until it reached 80g, or 2/3cup.  This combination worked pretty well, I think, but maybe a tad more AP flour (you can experiment with it). Then just add the flour, vanilla, and the other half of the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until light and creamy (about 5 minutes).
     Add a bit of egg yolks to the egg whites and fold a bit.  Then, fold in the rest of the yolk mixture and mix until combined (don't over-mix).  Spread the batter into the pan and bake at 350*F for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. I may have taken it out too soon, as it was a tad sticky and fell a bit.  Also, I used an 18" pan, but another size would probably work as well.

       Meanwhile, beat some whipping cream until it has stiff peaks.  When the cake is done baking, you should flip it onto a towel dusted with confectioners sugar and then roll it up in the towel.  Then when it is cool, you add the filling.  I didn't do this because the recipe didn't say to, but it would probably improve the shape.  I added mangoes to the filling because I had them on hand and they are really good.

Yup, it's really easy to make and well worth the effort!  Enjoy!

Simple Asian Sponge Cake


10 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup minus 2 tbs cake flour
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla

About 1 cup whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, line with parchment, and then spray again.
  2. Beat the egg white until soft peaks form (they will fall over a little bit).  Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the mixture and mix until incorporated.
  3. Measure out the flour and add to the egg yolks, along with the sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the yolk mixture to the whites, and fold with a spatula until incorporated. Don't over mix.  
  5. Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake in oven 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Flip onto a towel dusted with confectioners sugar and roll up along the length. Once cool, unroll and fill with whipped cream and fruit if desired.  Best if served on same day.

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