Angelina's Sponge Cake

Back in 2003 when I was living in Paris, France I encountered the best sponge cake I have ever eaten. It wasn't from a boulangerie or restaurant either. It was from a potluck in my French class. All the students were asked to bring in something to share in class and one of the girls brought in sponge cake. It had custard on top and sponge cake at the bottom. Everyone fell in love with the cake. It was all we talked about for days. It was creamy and silky like creme brulée and soft and pillowy with just the right amount of sweetness. My friend, Angelina was the master chef behind the cake.

Back then, I wasn't much of a baker. I knew just a handful of things to bake well, including cheesecake, brownies, and banana bread. I didn't know how to make sponge cake and honestly, Angelina's custard sponge cake trumped every dessert I knew how to make at the time. I was already confident in my cooking skills but I was definitely a novice when it came to baking. Of course, this was back when I barely ate sugar and was far from being pre-diabetic. Cooking meals was a necessity, baking desserts was not. Besides, I usually just grabbed something at the many bakeries down our street for dessert. Anything from the patisserie (or boulangerie) in France was fabulous. I focused on making good meals whenever we invited friends over but I always bought dessert.

If there was one dessert I could ever make to wow my dinner guests, this would be it. I knew I had to ask and Angelina was gracious enough to teach me and a few other girls from our French class. We shopped for the ingredients together and then we all went to my apartment and made the cake. And had lunch together, of course. And after that and many years of making the sponge cake, I was somewhat known as the sponge cake queen in my family. It's all thanks to my friend Angelina! I lost contact with her but if I could reach out to her now, I would love to dedicate this post to her.

A recipe in France does not easily translate into a recipe in North America. I had to tweak the original recipe to work in Canada. This recipe uses a lot of eggs and the eggs in France are superior to those you find here. For instance, there isn't as much egg white in an egg or the yolk is larger in France. Following the original recipe was a disaster! In fact, the flour is better, the butter and just about every ingredient for every kind of recipe is better than here. Lol.

Angelina's Sponge Cake
Serves 8-10

~75 g of sugar

Bowl 1: (in a stand mixer)
8 egg whites
50 g sugar

Bowl 2:
8 yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk (397g)
1/2 can milk

Bowl 3:
2 yolks
100 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 ml sunflower oil
100 ml pineapple juice (concentrated or the liquid from canned pineapple)

In a frying pan, dissolve and burn about 75g of granulated white sugar. Once it's a dark amber color, stop. Be careful not to burn the sugar black! Quickly pour that into a spring form pan. It will harden almost instantly.

Split eggs into 3 bowls, as indicated above. With a stand mixer bowl, whip egg whites until frothy. Add sugar and whip until stiff. Mix all contents in bowl 3. Fold in bowl 3 contents to bowl 1 contents. This is the sponge batter.

Mix bowl 2 contents. Pour bowl 2 contents into spring form pan, over top of the burnt sugar. Then pour in the sponge batter on top.

Fill a deep large pan with about 2 inches of water. Pre-heat oven with water bath on the lowest rack. You may also want to wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with aluminum foil. Place the spring form pan inside the water bath. Place in oven to bake at 355F for 40-45 mins. Take out, let cool completely and invert pan over a serving dish. Enjoy! Store this in the fridge for up to a few days.


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