Recipe: Sponge Cake

  • Twelve eggs.
  • Ten ounces of sifted flour, dried near the fire.
  • A pound of loaf sugar, powdered and sifted.
  • Twelve drops of essence of lemon.
  • A grated nutmeg.
  • A tea-spoonful of powdered cinnamon and mace, mixed.

Beat the eggs as light as possible. Eggs for sponge or almond CAKEs require more beating than for any other purpose. Beat the sugar, by degrees, into the eggs. Beat very hard, and continue to beat some time after the sugar is all in.

No sort of sugar but loaf will make light sponge-CAKE. Stir in, gradually, the spice and essence of lemon. Then, by degrees, put in the flour, a little at a time, stirring round the mixture very slowly with a knife. If the flour is stirred in too hard, the CAKE will be tough. It must be done lightly and gently, so that the top of the mixture will be covered with bubbles. As soon as the flour is all in, begin to bake it, as setting will injure it.

Put it in small tins, well buttered, or in one large tin pan. The thinner the pans, the better for sponge-CAKE. Fill the small tins about half full. Grate loaf-sugar over the top of each, before you set them in the oven.

Sponge-CAKE requires a very quick oven, particularly at the bottom. It should be baked as fast as possible, or it will be tough and heavy, however light it may have been before it went into the oven. It is of all CAKEs the most liable to be spoiled in baking. When taken out of the tins, the CAKEs should be spread on a sieve to cool. If baked in one large CAKE, it should be iced.

A large CAKE of twelve eggs, should be baked at least an hour in a quick oven.
For small CAKEs, ten minutes is generally sufficient. If they get very much out of shape in baking, it is a sign that the oven is too slow.

Some think that sponge-CAKEs and almond CAKEs are lighter, when the yolks and whites of the eggs are beaten in separate pans, and mixed gently together before the sugar is beaten into them.

If done separately from the yolks, the whites should be beaten till they stand alone.

Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes, and Sweetmeats, by Miss Leslie (Year 1832)