Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chocolate Sponge Cake

 Having to depend on people for driving and even walking has been a bit of a bummer. During the week I was able to increase my activity but still couldn't go out and do things on my own.  Makes for some very dull days around the house.  I miss my grandsweetie something fierce!  I can't do any lifting for four weeks, thus my mom is watching her at my daughter's home.  On Thursday I was able to get a lift to Bible study so at least I had that, but upon returning home I was left with everyone being out of the house and the sky gray and dreary.... seemed to me like a good day for chocolate, eh!!!!  Ok, so I can't eat it, but I can smell it and bake with it.  Baking is one of the things that truly does lift my spirits.  Listening to loud music and singing along is another thing..... but trust me, you do not want to actually hear me!

My husband grew up with a delicious sponge cake his mother made for him.  When I saw a recipe for a chocolate sponge cake I had one of those "Well, DUH!" moments.  I mean, why didn't I think of that?  Genius... pure genius.

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Chocolate Icing
adapted from bon appetit

1/4 cup Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 cup cake flour
4 large eggs, room temperature - separate the yolks and whites from two of the eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 6 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Chocolate Icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2, 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Lightly spray the bottom and sides (yes I do mean to spray the paper!) with cooking spray and dust with a bit of cocoa powder.  

Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder, two times; set aside.  

In a large bowl, combine two of the whole eggs and two egg yolks, salt, 1/2 cup sugar and extracts; mix until it becomes thick and pale in color (about three minutes on medium speed).
In a second bowl, combine the two egg whites with one teaspoon sugar.   Whip egg whites to soft peaks then gradually add the remaining 5 teaspoons on sugar.  You aren't looking for stiff peaks, but for the egg whites to become thick and glossy.

Take half the egg white mixture and gently fold into the egg yolks.  Next, add half the flour/cocoa powder by sifting it, again, over the cake mix.  Repeat with the remaining egg whites and flour/cocoa powder mixtures.
This made just shy of four cups of cake batter.  I divided the batter between the two pans and baked for 15 minutes.  I almost over cooked it.... It went from being gooey in the center at 14 minutes to pulling from the sides at fifteen!  
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.  

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the heavy cream  to just the point of boiling.  Remove from the microwave and add the chocolate chips and stir gently just to coat with the cream.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the heat of the cream melt the chocolate chips. It generally takes me close to five minutes for the mixture to smoothly blend.  9 out of 10 times this method works.  If the chocolate mixture isn't fully melted and smooth you may have to put it back in the microwave for a few more seconds.  Put a bit of the icing between the layers than pour the remaining over the top layer allowing it to just drip around the sides... it gives the cake some character :-)

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