Saturday, January 15, 2011

Orange Sponge Cake

Recipes....they are everywhere.  How are we supposed to keep up with them all?  This is part of the fun of cooking.  The possibilities are endless.  The possibilities were already endless before the internet came along; now it's just overkill.  Yay!

Recently my husband and I decluttered the recipe box.  This is a plastic box, with some index card dividers in it, and it's grey and ugly to start with.  With 22 years worth of recipes that were printed off the internet, cut out of magazines, little cards picked up at the grocery store, and handwritten scraps of grease-stained paper spilling out of the box, it was difficult to find anything you were looking for.  So everything got dumped onto the dining room table, and we went through all of the recipes.  Approximately 95 percent of them went into the trash.  Ones we loved got put behind divider cards with category names written on them.   The rule for getting back into the box was that the recipe had to be one we actually use, or one we really want to try.  Only 4 recipes fit into the "really want to try" category, and today I am making two of them - a cauliflower casserole, and an orange sponge cake.  This particular blog is about the orange sponge cake.

Nearly empty, but organized, and lots of fresh dividers for future use

Not only is our recipe box plastic and grey, it also has a faded label on top that says "Denmark UnitedKingdom."  Neither of us have been to Denmark or the United Kingdom.  I have no idea where this box came from in the first place.  It's just always been here.  I've been online looking for a new recipe box and haven't found much to choose from.  What do you use for a recipe box?

The Orange Sponge Cake recipe that I saved has a date of April 8, 1998 on it.  I printed it off of a food newsgroup I used to frequent.  I don't know how to get to newsgroups anymore.  I really enjoyed that one, and got lots of recipes from it that were shoved into the plastic box, never actually cooked, and recently purged into the trash can.  I learned to make chicken fried steak from those newsgroup members! 

I don't really know what sponge cake is.  I've heard of it, of course, and maybe even eaten it before, but I just don't know why it's called sponge cake.  Sounds very moist, a definite plus!

Anyway here is the recipe, finally. It makes 12 servings (we'll see about that):

1.5 cups cake flour
1.25 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
2 tsp hot water
1.25 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
3 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Heat orange juice in small saucepan over low heat just until warm to the touch.  Set aside.

Beat egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar and hot water in mixer bowl at medium speed until mixture is light.

At low speed, beat juice into yolks until blended.

Beat in vanilla, orange and lemon peel, until mixture is light and foamy, about 2 minutes.

With rubber spatula, gently fold in dry ingredients.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the 6 egg whites at medium speed until foamy

At high speed gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff.

Whisk 1/3 of the whites into yolk mixture.

Fold in remaining whites.

Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch tube pan.

Bake 28 to 33 minutes, until cake springs back when touched lightly.  Coll completely on a wire rack.  To loosen, run thin knife around ege of pan.  Invert onto serving plate.

Look at the stats!  Not bad, for something that sounds like it is going to be very moist and orangey!

nutrition facts

Notice I decided this cake is 8 servings, not 12.

My recent shortbread feeding frenzy has told me that butter is going to make my food logs too high in fat (ya think?) so another draw to this sponge cake recipe is the complete lack of butter.  Right now, prior to baking the cake, this sounds too good to be true.  I sure hope whoever gave me this recipe in 1998 didn't leave something out.  Let me double check.....nope, no butter.  I did find this note at the end of the page from someone called "mimi a.": "I thought this recipe sounded interesting and just wanted to share it with you all" followed by a smiley face.  And she says it's from the Ahwatukee Foothills News of April 8, 1998.  I wonder what that is. 

Apparently she didn't actually bake this cake, she just thought it sounded "interesting."  Now I'm getting nervous.  When I say something is "interesting" I mean that I'm not really interested and I think it's unlikely or pointless or annoying.  Well, sometimes it's really interesting, I guess.  Anyway the fact that Mimi thinks this recipe is "interesting" makes me wonder if she is talking about how there's no butter in it.   We'll see.  This cake better taste good; baking it involves the hassle of having to wash my mixer bowl halfway through so I can beat the egg whites. 

I just  noticed that I tend to get really pissed off at the recipes in my blog, sometimes even before I start cooking them.  LOL  Self-knowledge is power!  Usually it's worth the hassle.  Thanks for hanging in there!  Read on.

I didn't take a bunch of pictures this time.  Everyone has seen orange peel and vanilla.  But here is a picture of the batter about to go into the oven.  It tastes really good raw, which is usually a good omen.  The batter has a foamy texture.  I wonder if I'm making a preservative-free, giant unfilled twinkie.   That would be cool.

fluffy batter
 waiting....waiting.....while I wait, can I just say what a mess I made separating 6 eggs?  First I put the white into the mixing bowl instead of the yolk, and had to switch everything out.  Then I got yolk in the whites.  No shells, though.  I really need to get one of those egg separater things.  

I just looked in the oven and the cake is really puffing up!  I tried to take a picture - too much glare. 


It's out of the oven now, looking interesting.

It has to cool completely, then be inverted onto a cake plate.  I'm giving it one hour to cool down, while I watch a couple of Golden Girls tivos.

OMG - Sofia got married!

The cake is cool.  I ran a knife around the edge and inverted it onto a cake plate.  I waited for the cake to flop down onto the plate, but it just stayed there upside down clinging to the bottom of the pan.  I wish I had taken a picture of that!  I ran the knife around and got the cake to land on the plate. 

This cake is very sweet.  I toned it down a little with some Greek yogurt and cranberry-apple butter.  The texture is dense and spongy and it tastes great!


  1. I just busted out laughing at the twinkie and Sophia got married comment.

    You kill me once again!

  2. We have one of those boxes. This recipe is going in it as soon as I feel better.I want to try it next week. When you said 8 servings, the cake looks like it was bigger and would have cut in many more slices. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I didn't know Sophia got married!

  4. It would cut as many slices as you like! I like 8. :)

    Pam I didn't know either! They decided to live separately by the end of the show, but stay married for the "benefits" (wink).