Chestnut Sponge Cake, Part II

Where were we? Oh, right. Last time, Andrea made pancakes before the stroke of midnight.

And now she had the chance to redeem herself.

And all her hopes rest on six extra-large eggs.

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So there I sat, hemming and hawing and wondering if I should risk the sacrifice of another six eggs, since this recipe (which looked MUCH MORE RELIABLE, I might add) called for six of these darlings to be separated and beaten up. Baking can be so violent.

Now the kicker here was not that I had to start a new recipe, but that my relatives were all fast asleep, which meant I couldn’t use the MixMaster. And yes, you’re right. That meant everything was to be whipped with a hand whisk.

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I started with something easy: egg yolks and sugar. Mind you, I think I did quite an okay job with getting those egg yolks thick and lemon-y looking.

After rinsing my whisk (tip: keep as much egg yolk as you can out of your egg whites when beating, otherwise your whites may not rise very well at all), I started to whisk my egg whites, again, by hand.

Now before you conjure up any images of flapping one-armed whisking, let me share with you a tip I found on Google. Yes, Google. To whisk, hold your whisk down perpendicular in the bowl and rub the handle between your palms. This emulates the whisking motion found on machines such as the MixMaster and also eliminates a lot of wasted energy. If you’re like me, you’ll turn on an episode of Project Runway (I love the sewing/creating parts but not the interpersonal sniping T—T), prop your bowl up against the edge of your laptop and have a grand ol’ time whisking your heart out.

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The crazy part is that whipping these egg whites didn’t even take half as long as I thought they would. At 5 minutes the six egg whites started to foam (left), at 9 minutes the majority of the whites were now foamy, and at 17 minutes soft peaks were already beginning to form. Less than 20 minutes ain’t bad when you’re freaking out past midnight, y’know.

Gently fold the yolks into the whites…

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And pour into an ungreased tube pan and bake for an hour.

Since I forgot that the cake had to bake (and for an hour at that) I watched the rest of my show on the stool where I sat.

Once the cake came out, I started whipping the whipped cream (oh whisk my friend). Sure, I could have whipped the cream while the cake was in the oven, but then I would have had to wait for the cake to cool anyway, so whip the cream I did as the cake cooled.

I think late nights mangle my grammar more than I’ve previously noticed in the past. Maybe this is why writing my honours thesis last year at all those odd hours gave my supervisor such a headache when he edited. But I digress.

Finally, the cake was cooled (although a tad underbaked because I had been paranoid and taken it out early, thereby ruining a good bottom slice of the cake which I cut off and which you didn’t really need to know about), the cream was whipped and magical berries had appeared on the cake.

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This just goes to show you that if at first you don’t succeed, there’s always more eggs to be cracked.

Here’s just one more picture of the cake, for good measure.

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The night was done
At four ‘o’ clock
Her battle won
Her hair amok

She slumped to bed
A gleam in her eye
Her arms were dead
But she did not cry

Good night, O moon
Good night, O sun
Good night, O cake
The journey, ’twas fun.


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