Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, although here in Fairfield County, CT you would never know it was May. Every day for the past two weeks the outdoor thermometer has barely registered fifty and it is either constantly drizzling or constantly blowing. So many emerging spring buds looked pinched and may never blossom this year. In spite of the weather, it IS going to be Mother’s Day and in honor of my girls who are also mothers, I have made this lovely, light spongecake filled with sugared berries and topped with rich whipped cream. I love this recipe so much because it never fails, and it is always so spongy and sturdy in spite of its lightness, making it easy to tote to pot lucks or family gatherings not taking place at my house. Last night I took it to the home of my former college roommate and it was a huge hit as a dessert. In the final picture, my cake is sitting on her tablecloth. Doesn’t it look sweet? (No pun intended. lol)
A light sponge cake is so much fun to make because the instructions are different from a butter – beaten with sugar – type of cake. In this one, a sugar meringue is made first and set aside. Then all other ingredients are added into one bowl at the same time and then beaten until thick as egg nog. Then the meringue is folded into the egg nog mixture using a wire whip. Instead of using a buttered and floured cake tin, the batter goes into an ungreased bundt pan or tube cake pan. After it is baked, it must cool upside down on a funnel or bottle neck and finally the cake comes out all springy and spongy after running a serrated knife around the sides and around the tube opening in the cake pan.
4 large organic eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar (for the meringue)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (a white powder in the spice section)
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla
For the Filling and Top:
1 carton of fresh or frozen strawberries
4 tblsp sugar – half for berries; half for cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Use an ungreased 9″ bundt cake pan or tube pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip or using a stand alone bowl with a hand mixer, place the 4 egg whites, the cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt. Beat the egg white mixture on high until soft peaks form. Then, one tablespoon of sugar at a time, add the 1/4 cup of sugar while continuing to beat the egg white mixture on high until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Remove the meringue mixture to another large bowl using a spatula.
Using the now empty stand mixer bowl, place the egg yolks, flour, baking powder, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat this mixture on medium until it thickens and increases in volume like an egg nog.Then fold the meringue mixture into the egg nogish mixture using a wire whip. Pour batter into an ungreased 9″ bundt cake or tube cake pan and bake at 325°F fo 38 minutes.
Place it upside down on the neck of a funnel or neck of a bottle. I rest my funnel on top of a cake rack and support it on three sides using pot holders and whatever else works. Do not remove it until it is completely cool.
To remove the cake from the cake pan, run a thin sharp serrated knife all around the pan and all around the inside tube opening as well. You can then run a table knife around it and push the sides of the cake away from the tin as you do this. The cake is very springy and will spring away from the sides of the pan. Turn it upside down onto a cake plate and the cake will fall out onto the plate. If you are not ready to serve the cake. keep it in the cake pan and cover it with plastic wrap or foil.
To prepare the cake for serving, take out a carton of strawberries and slice them up into a small bowl. Sugar them with one or two tablespoons of sugar. Keep out two large berries for decorating the top of the cake.
Place a pint of heavy whipping cream in the stand mixer bowl. Add two tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla. Whip the cream first on slow speed or medium until it starts to thicken and is not splashing everywhere. Then increase the speed to high and whip the cream until it is stiff. Be careful. You do not want to turn the cream into butter by beating it for too long.
Crush the sliced strawberries with either a fork or a potato masher until lumpy. Mix in 1/2 cup of whipped cream and stir them together. Slice the sponge cake lengthwise using a large serrated bread knife. Remove the top. Spread the berry filling all around the bottom layer. Add a bit more whipped cream to it if you wish. Sorry, but I forgot to take pictures of this step.
Top the cake with the rest of the whipped cream. Then slice the two large berries in half lengthwise and place around the top of the cake. I admit it looks luscious and I wish I had not left all of it at someone else’s house, but it isn’t nice to bring a dessert and then take it back. Sob.