”Her sponge cakes had the aroma of crucifixion. Within them was the sap of slyness and the fragrant frenzy of the Vatican.”
~ Isaac Babel
Soft, fluffy, and utterly decadent, there’s something undeniably amazing about a well-made sponge-cake. What exactly constitutes a sponge cake varies depending on where in the world you find yourself, but their light and airy texture remains consistent. Sponge Cake Day celebrates this delicious cake and the people throughout the world that love them.
History of Sponge Cake Day
While it’s soft and delicate texture has often been attributed to the Victorians thanks to the Victorian Sponge Cake, in fact, the sponge cake finds its roots in Italy. Sometime in the early 18th century, a respected and wealthy member of the Pallavicini family in Genoa commissioned a cake that was as light and delicate as sea foam. The result was an airy and delectable confection that was known as the Pâte Génoise. This creation would soon come to be known as a ‘sponge cake’.
What set it apart was that it was created without any yeast or leavening agent, instead, taking advantage of the properties of whipped egg whites to add air to the texture of the cake. Its popularity exploded throughout the world, and endless varieties came to pass that were used for every purpose. It would accompany soups and savory dishes, filled with every kind of sweet imaginable.
Today the sponge cake has found itself a staple of English tea, and a welcome addition to any event. You can find sponge cake topped with rich chocolate icing, stuffed with fruit jam, and covered with light lemon icing dusted with confectioners sugar. Sponge Cake Day celebrates its endless variety and the delicious flavors the creative can impart to it.
How to Celebrate Sponge Cake Day
The best way to celebrate Sponge Cake Day is to indulge in the dish that gave it its name, and in one of its most classic forms. Below you will find a recipe for a Victorian Sponge Cake, turn your hand to its preparation and add a light sweetness to your day!
Victorian Sponge Cake
1c Cake Flour
1 1/2t baking powder
1c confectioners’ sugar
1t Pure Vanilla Extract
Begin the preparation by preheating your oven to 400F, and then grease an 8-in springform pan. Run the flour through a sifter with the baking powder and place them into a medium bowl and set it to the side. Then mix the butter and egg to create a light and fluffy mixture and add each egg to the mixture one at a time, ensuring they’re at room temperature when you do. Follow this by beating in the vanilla, and slowly add in the flour and milk in alternating portions until it’s gently mixed.
Pour into the pan and bake it until a toothpick comes out clean when piercing the center, then remove it and let it cool for 10 minutes and turn it out onto a wire rack. Dust is with confectioners sugar and serve!