Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Basic sponge cake

June whooshed by so fast that I barely had the chance to breathe and do some therapy in the kitchen. Yup. Baking is actually therapeutic. All that kneading, and mixing, and folding and whisking. Measuring, and pouring and melting and tasting. Cooking and baking something somehow gives me a sense of fulfillment that I've actually accomplished something worthwhile - right there sitting patiently on the table waiting to be devoured.

As the first week of June we had the dynamic double B - Uncle Bob and Ate Bea, we haven't had the chance to actually sit down at home and prepare something in the kitchen. For most of June, the kitchen was not quite busy. The irony is, I hibernate from therapeutic kitchen duty everytime we have guests. Just when there will be more mouths to feed, and more palates to challenge. Chinese take-away is my best ally. The Oriental Wok - Chinese Take Away in North Ryde is the quickest with value-for-money dishes. Easy Char Kway Teo and Crispy Skin Chicken, Salt and Pepper Squid delivered in just half an hour. Our Jindabyne stay had me prepare our regular home favourites of pork ribs sinigang, adobo, sautéed vegetables and the usual sausage on the grill. Baking was limited to 2 pans of Hershey's Perfectly Perfect Chocolate Cake for Bianca's 13th birthday which she brought to school, and a pan of walnut-free brownies for the U14 Ryde Bulls team. Overall, I got a bit of a rest which is not good, if my intention is to improve my culinary skills to partake in the next Masterclass audition. But seriously. Its therapy I'm looking for.

And so when our guests sadly left, we were up to our usual devices. Reality set in slowly. It becomes stressful when reality stares at you in the face in the form of a 5-foot high chunk of soiled clothes. And as OCS (obsessive clothes sorter) it took time to settle my debt with Whirlpool and Duo. But I'm good. It's all good. We had a fantastic snow holiday and that's all that matters. Everyone had fun.

The other good thing is there's only 2 weeks left till the winter school holidays. Oh yeah. And now that we've settled, its time to start warming up the kitchen. For a few days, I was frantically and thoughtfully searching for what to create in the kitchen. How about something new? I found a simple sponge cake recipe online here, which required the use of cornflour. I have been thinking of making sponge cake since the Multicultural Food Fest at church last month, alongside making some honeycomb and cream cheese butter frosting.

Sponge cakes to me should be called angel cakes! They are sweet, soft and purely divine! Oh, to be able to create an excellent sponge cake. That would be heaven!

But sometimes the simplest things can sometimes be the most daunting of tasks. Procrastination after all, is a human characteristic. Do ants wait until the weather is sunny before they go out to stock up on their seasonal hibernation? While there have been gourmet moments in our kitchen, concocting with Louisette Bertolle’s chocolate almond cake, I have never ever tried my hand on making the simple and yet versatile sponge cake.

The frenzy over making the sponge cake was when I decided to do a Julia Child recommendation to whisk the egg whites by hand. And halfway through I had my right arm uncontrollably stiff, my neck and face flushed in red and my mouth yelling out SOS! Ate had to quickly get the hand mixer, frantically plugged it in and dramatically rescued me from my whisking episode. Aaaahhh! What a relief. And never again. At least, I can say I have “experienced” it.

Anyways, it turned out well because just about 5 minutes out of the oven, you guys were already drooling over the cake and asking for seconds. We managed to save some to pack for morning tea in school the next day. And so I’m off to the shops again this afternoon to get more corn flour! Never realised it will be good for anything other than schnitzels and thickening sauces! Oh, what a feeling! I hope you don't get tired of sponge cake. We have about 5-500gpacks in the pantry. Not that I'm excited.

Basic Sponge Cake


1 cup cornflour

3/4 cup sugar (we used caster sugar)

2 tsp plain flour

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp bi-carbonate of soda

4 large eggs, separated

pinch of salt

1. Sift cornflour, plain flour, cream of tartar and bi-carbonate of soda three times.

2. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Gradually add sugar and beat until quite stiff.

3. Add egg yolks and beat until thick.

4. Fold in the flour mixture.

5. Pour mixture evenly into 2 greased and lined round tins.

6. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees C.

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