Monday, June 1, 2009

My Best Sponge Yet

I can't believe the best sponge I made is when I am not expecting it. I've been searching for a recipe with creme caramel on top of a sponge base since when I first discovered internet a decade ago and after first eating it. It was only recently that I found a recipe on Roz's blog. I've made this three times since last week and all have been perfect. Pity my "sponge cakes" don't turn out like the ones for this custard-cake.

With a few changes, I've made mine in a 22.7cm x 96cm round pan. Don't be fooled by the detailed recipe as it is really easy to make, and you do not need to cook the custard first and the two layers is sure to impress guests. And in addition, the sponge layer comes out evenly on top of the custard once cooked.

Sugar Base:
100gm sugar
1 tbsp water
  1. Melt the sugar and water in a saucepan without stirring the sugar. If required, swirl the melted sugar in the saucepan to allow the syrup to brown evenly.
  2. Quickly pour the sugar into the base of the baking pan until it covers the base fully and if time permits, let the sugar syrup coat about an inch of the side of the pan.
  3. Set the pan aside and the toffee to cool in pan while preparing the creme caramel and sponge base.

Creme Caramel Custard:
750ml milk
110gm sugar
6 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Place the milk and sugar into the saucepan used to make the toffee for the sugar base and heat the milk mixture on the stove just until the sugar melts.
  2. In a separate bowl, using a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs and vanilla essence until well-beaten but not until there are lots of froth on the top of the egg mixture. (If there are lots of froth, just run it through the seive.
  3. Mix the milk into the egg mixture and set aside until the sponge base is prepared.

Sponge base:
3 eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
90gm castor sugar
110gm self raising flour (sifted)
2 tbsp milk
30gm butter (melted and cooled)

  1. Beat the egg yolks with about half the amount of sugar required for the sponge base.
  2. Add in milk and beat until combined.
  3. Fold in half the self raising flour into the egg yolk mixture until combined, repeat with the remaining flour. The batter will be really thick at this stage.
  4. In a separate greasefree bowl, using a high speed setting, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, before slowly adding in the rest of the castor sugar and continue beating the egg whites until firm peaks form. Continue beating the egg whites with a slow setting for another minute or two so that the air bubbles trapped in the egg whites are more stable.

  5. Gently but quickly fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter. Repeat until all the egg whites are folded into the egg yolk mixture thoroughly. At this stage, the batter should be light and fluffy.
  6. Drizzle the melted butter over the batter and quickly fold through until just combined.

To assemble:

  1. Pour the Custard into the toffee-prepared baking pan.
  2. Pour the sponge cake mixture on top of the custard.
  3. Place in a bain marie (waterbath) in the oven for 50mins at 180 degrees Celsius.
  4. Let the cake cool before placing it into the fridge until chilled.
  5. The toffee will have melted and there will be syrup at the bottom of the pan. I usually pour out the syrup and reserve it for drizzling over the cake when serving but you can let it soak into the cake base if desired.
  6. Turn the cake onto a large plate.
  7. When serving, drizzle the reserved toffee syrup if desired.

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