I’ve posted the photo above from my family tree. The couple are my great-grandparents. They immigrated to Canada from Scotland and then entered the United States and settled in Mason City, Iowa. The girl on the far right is my grandmother, Mary.
Here is me and my family at the table, probably 1961.
I don’t know if my mother’s recipe for sponge cake was one passed down to her from her mother and her grandmother, but it may well have come from the ancestral home in Scotland. I know my mother made this cake many times because she talked about making it. I don’t remember her making it. It may be I was just too young.
I did remember the taste of it after I made it.
She liked to experiment with new recipes and this one must have been one she decided she didn’t need to make in lieu of the new ones.
It is a simple cake to create from scratch and requires few ingredients. I hope you’ll come along and bake it to taste the delicious, fluffy egginess of it.
You will need a candy thermometer. That’s the most exotic thing about this recipe.The ingredients are: 1 cup flour, 1 teas. cream of tartar, 1/4 teas salt, 1 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1 teas. vanilla, 7 egg whites, 7 egg yolks.
Add Cream of tartar to egg whites and beat egg white mixture until stiff. This is the perfect Easter recipe. Let me tell you about the eggs I used. My brother gave them to me. They’re from his free-range chickens, and his wild ducks. The duck eggs have larger yolks but as you will see the dark yellow yolks from all the eggs made for and extra rich, and very yellow cake.
Boil sugar and water to soft ball stage (on candy thermometer). You might think this is too much of a complication. It is really very easy and takes less than five minutes.
Pour hot syrup over the egg whites and beat for 5 minutes, adding the vanilla and the salt.
Add to the white fluff, the beaten egg yolks. (These will be creamy not fluffy).
Lastly, fold the flour into the fluffy mixture.
Pour into an ungreased tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
Here is what is not written on the recipe but is how my mother taught me when making an angel food cake from scratch, which is much like the type a cake a sponge is.
Turn the hot pan upside down using something to hold the pan’s edges off the counter. I used cereal bowls. My mother used to use her laundry starch bottle. Let sit for another hour like this. The cake will be fluffier. After an hour, gently tap the bottom of the tube pan to loosen and slowly pry the cake free. (It should be cool enough to handle.)
My mother wrote – “ummm – good!