At ILVE, we’re always on the hunt out for mouth watering recipes and tales of culinary adventures to share with our readers. Through the Live with ILVE blog we endeavour to inspire you to explore the wonderful and exciting possibilities of food and cooking. What better way to do that than engaging with the web’s up-and-coming food blogger extraordinares!
And without further adieu … may we present our newest guest poster Liz, a Canberra-based food enthusiast and cook who muses about all things scrumptious on her blog, Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. When she’s not cooking up delicious recipes, seeking out the latest fresh produce or reflecting, photographing and writing about the delightful world of food, you can find Liz sharing good things foodie and otherwise with the world on Twitter @bizzylizzycooks (one of Australia’s top 100 Food Twitterers).
Baking Nougat Sponge Cake: A Guest blog by Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things
A whisked sponge boasts the most delicate texture of all cakes and can reflect the mark of a good cook.
It was sponge cakes that saved the day for cooks who entered the Royal Easter Show in 1948. According to a snippet in Adelaide’s The Advertiser on 25 March 1948, due to the less than perfect standard of entries the cookery section judges concluded that women were ‘poor cooks’ – clipping shown below.
On scones, the verdict was that “the entries were terrible”. On light fruit cakes, there were “no entries worth consideration for any of the prizes”. And on dark fruit cakes, “no entry considered of high enough standard to be worthy of the first prize award”. Lordy! Apparently, “the only ray of hope was in the sponge cake section, where the entries received high praise from the judges”.
There are indeed some golden rules to baking feather light sponge cakes of show quality. I have learned this from a colleague — a no-frills, no-nonsense woman keen on hockey tournaments, who (to the surprise of her work mates) also happens to be a closet baker of Blue Ribbon sponge cakes. She tells me it’s essential to aerate the eggs and sugar by beating the mixture for up to ten minutes, Hence her stand mixer plays a major part in the process. Fresh eggs at room temperature are essential and getting the oven temperature spot on is also important. On that note, I have to say that in my experience as a cook and former cooking school owner, an ILVE oven produced the best quality sponge cakes I’ve ever created.
Personally, I bake for the pure pleasure of baking and sharing the delicious results with those I love, but if you are toying with the idea of entering sponge cakes into a show, then keep in mind these tips:
- Never use a packet mix (unless the regulations allow it).
- Use caster sugar for finer textured cakes
- Don’t use cornflour in sponge cakes (unless this is allowed in the Schedule)
- Weigh the sponge cake mixture to ensure even heights of layers
- Don’t use a skewer to test if a cake is cooked, as this will leave a hole
- Never turn your cake straight onto a cooling rack, as no ‘rack marks’ are allowed
Sponge cake recipes vary from cook to cook and generation to generation. Tracing Australia’s gastronomic heritage in her book Bold Palates, renowned food historian, Barbara Santich, notes that cookbooks at the turn of the century listed only three, four or five recipes for sponge cakes, whereas by 1937 The Coronation Cookbook included 14. Ms Santich also mentions a Passionfruit Sandwich Cake (a basic sponge cake with passionfruit filling and passionfruit icing) that featured in Miss Futter’s Australian Home Cookery in 1922.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is an old fashioned style of sponge cake, reminiscent of country cottages with rambling gardens, heirloom china and shabby chic furnishings. It’s baked with fresh eggs, melted butter, warm milk and a dash of custard powder; then filled with whipped cream and topped with lip-smacking passionfruit icing.
Thank you ILVE for inviting me to contribute this guest post to the Live with ILVE blog. I feel honoured to be included among such esteemed company. I wish your readers happy baking and hope they will enjoy this Nougat Passionfruit Sponge as much as my family and I do.
Click here for Bizzy Lizzy’s delicious Nougat Passionfruit Sponge recipe for Live with ILVE.
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