Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • Serves: Makes one 9-inch springform or cake pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 325
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  • Comments: 2

Variations: Black Forest Cherry Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte); Priscilla's Orange Sponge Cake

I wanted to create a sponge cake that was moist and very chocolaty, as I dislike dry and flavorless cakes. I finally achieved the right balance between the flour and cocoa powder as to not make the cake too dry; you have to be careful when adding in cocoa powder to achieve a deep chocolate flavor - it has a lot of starch in it and too much starch leads to a dry cake. The cake turned out so well that I use it with my Black Forest Cherry Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). It's a perfect cake to brush with flavored sugar syrups in between the layers for more flavor.

1/2 cup bleached cake flour (not self-rising); spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
1/3 cup Natural or alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder, sift after measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs, separated; separate when cold, can use cold in recipe
1 cup sugar or superfine sugar, divided
1/4 fluid cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven and prepare the cake pan:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Grease only the bottom of a 9-inch springform or cake pan. This type of cake is easier to remove from a two-part pan.

SARAH SAYS: Preferably, do NOT use a NON STICK pan.

3. Line with parchment paper and grease the paper.

SARAH SAYS: To fit a piece of parchment paper to its pan, trace the outline of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Cut out the circle, and place it pen or pencil side down in the pan.

Clamp on the springform pan's sides. Make sure you do not grease the sides. Set aside.

Sift the cake flour and cocoa powder:
1. Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt, after measuring, three times into a small bowl or onto a large piece of parchment or waxed paper.
SARAH SAYS: This is very important. This helps aerate the cake flour and blend it with the starchy cocoa powder, making them easier to quickly blend into the beaten egg foams.
This in turn, helps prevent some excess and unnecessary deflation of the fragile foams.



2. Set aside.

Beat and ribbon the egg yolks. Add in the flour / cocoa blend:
1. In a mixer bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg yolks.

2. Turn the mixer on low, add 1/2 cup of the sugar, water, and vanilla extract.

3. With the mixer on medium-high, beat the egg yolks for 4 to 5 minutes until they are light in color and "ribbon."

SARAH SAYS: The yolks will "ribbon"; that is when you raise the beaters, the mixture should fall in a ribbon pattern that sits on top of the swirl for seconds before sinking.
That's why it's called making the ribbon.

4. Sprinkle the half of the flour / cocoa powder blend over the ribboned egg yolks and gently whisk it in to make a smooth batter; don't beat in a mixer.

Repeat with the other half of the flour / cocoa powder blend.

5. Cover and set aside.

Beat the egg whites:
1. In the dry, clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy with the mixer on medium-low speed.

Add the cream of tartar. Continue whipping until the foam is white and opaque.

2. Increase the mixer speed to high and add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar at the side of the bowl. Beat until the egg white foam is light and fluffy.

3. When you stop the mixer and lift its beaters, the whites should form a soft peak and then have its tip droop and fold over.

Fold the mixtures together:
1. Add a small amount of the beaten whites to the egg yolk batter and stir with your whisk to lighten.

2. Place the rest of the beaten egg whites on the surface of the batter.

3. With a large rubber spatula, fold very carefully so the whites don't lose their volume. Take your time!

The batter should be homogenous.

1. Scrape batter into the prepared pan.

2. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, firm, and sounds hollow when tapped on the pan with the handle of a wooden spoon.
It will shrink slightly from the side of the pan.
Cool the cake in its pan on a wire cake rack for ten minutes.

3. To remove the cake from the pan, slip a flexible metal spatula carefully down the side of the pan.
Slowly trace around the perimeter, unlatch the clamp and slip off the pan side.

4. When the side is free, turn it over on a plate, slip a flexible metal spatula between the cake and the pan's bottom to loosen, and remove.
Gently peel off the parchment paper.

5. Place cake upright on a wire cake rack to cool.

Keeps at room temperature for a few days, well wrapped.
If you want to keep your unfrosted cake, freeze it wrapped first in plastic wrap, then in foil, and finally in an airtight container. It will keep for 2 to 3 months.

Black Forest Cherry Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)
Priscilla's Orange Sponge Cake

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