As you can see, I am not afraid of whipping cream. This was a request from my oldest daughter for her preschool graduation celebration, along with hot dogs and corn on the cob, but we don’t really need a recipe for that. She loves strawberry shortcake and I often make it on homemade biscuits, but I decided to go out on a limb this time and attempt some sponge cake. It was actually not nearly as difficult as I thought. This recipe comes from the Autralian Women’s Weekly Great Cooking Classics cookbook – basically the cookbook that really taught me how to cook, so I have a soft spot for it. It has recipes for the classic dishes of about 15 or so different countries, from appetizers through desserts and is covered in food stains and sticky notes – never have I used a cookbook more than this one. And this spongecake recipe was a great reminder of why I love this book so much – made from scratch, yet easy to follow directions, and not a million explanations of what could go wrong, so you aren’t intimidated before you even start. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (actual measurement is 60g, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, 1/4 cup is pretty bang on)
For the topping:
500 ml whipping cream
1 -2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a deep 9 inch round cake pan (or be like me and make this in mini heart shaped cake pans)
2. Set a pot of water on to simmer and find a heat proof (glass or metal) bowl that can fit on top of it, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is NOT touching the water. Combine eggs and sugar in the bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy. I timed myself, and I’m glad I did, or I think I would have stopped long before I should have, as this went through several thickening stages before really coming into it’s own; I think 10 minutes was pretty bang on.
3. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat for another 5 minutes or so, until it has returned to room temperature. The mixture will get fairly glossy, like a meringue does.
4. Sift half the flour over the egg mixture and carefully fold in. Repeat with the rest of the flour. Quickly and carefully fold in cooled melted butter and then pour into prepared cake pan(s).
5. Bake for about 20 minutes for a full sized cake or for 8-10 minutes for the mini cakes (I used 10 mini cake pans). You will know it is done when you touch the top and it springs back (like a muffin). Turn immediately onto a wire rack to cool.
6. Stir together strawberries and sugar to macerate (every time I so much as think the word macerate my brain goes off on some sketch comedy trip about how macerating is a way to get the juices flowing and it sounds surprisingly similar to another m word with similar results – sorry, I’m trying to keep this pg – anyway, I have yet to come up with anything really funny, but there I am, giggling to myself anyway).
7. Whip the cream with icing sugar and vanilla, then decorate as you please. The book suggests the cake be cut in half horizontally and stuffed with the whipping cream and strawberries, then dust icing sugar on top. Their picture looks gorgeous, but I am perfectly happy with the piling on top method; do what you feel is best.