Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Peaches and cream cake

Happy Birthday to me! :))) This is the cake I baked for my birthday this year. It was three layers of classic sponge cake, also called pan di spagna, or genoise. The fillings were vanilla pastry cream and my homemade peach jam. I used stabilized whipped cream frosting for the rose design on the top and sides. And I soaked the cake with a classic sugar soaking syrup. After two days of whisking, mixing, baking, stirring, and piping, I ended up with an extremely moist, beautiful and decadent cake- very much European and very much what I grew up eating as a child back in Bulgaria. I guess you could call it a nostalgic cake. :)

Sponge cake is a cake that uses only beaten eggs to give it volume, no baking powder or baking soda are added to it.  It requires a lot of whisking, but if you have a stand mixer, you should have no problems with it. :) It is very light and fluffy and can serve as the base for a multitude of layered cakes.


8 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
190 g/ 6.7oz sugar
95g/ 3.3oz all-purpose flour, sifted
55g/ 2oz corn starch, sifted
45g/ 1.6oz butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch round spring-form cake pan. Line it with parchment paper.

Place egg yolks in the bowl of your electric stand mixer. Whisk on high speed until creamy. After 1 minute, add 2 tbsps of the sugar. Continue to mix for a couple more minutes, until the mixture becomes thicker. Add vanilla extract. Keep mixing until the mixture doubles in volume. Turn off mixer. Transfer egg yolks to a separate bowl.

Thoroughly wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Make sure they are washed extremely clean; if not, any fat that remains on these utensils will negatively affect the mixing of the egg whites. Place the egg whites in the clean mixer bowl. Whip them on high until they become white and frothy. Slowly add sugar a little bit at a time. Once the mixer is nice and stiff, turn off the mixer. The whipped egg whites mixture is ready when it clings to the whisk attachment and does not drip.

Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Make sure you do not over-mix!

Combine flour and corn starch in a sieve.Slowly sift them into the egg mixture. Sifting the flour will make the cake lighter. Fold together remembering not to over-mix.

Finally, add melted butter, combing it in briefly.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the lined cake pan. Spread evenly. Give the pan a few good shakes to remove air bubbles. 
Bake at 350F for about 27-30 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer. The cake is ready when the skewer comes out batter-free. Set aside to cool before removing it from the pan. Once it is cool, run a very sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Remove spring form pan. Fill and frost with your choice of fillings and frosting.

If you prefer a very moist cake, as I do, you can soak it with some simple sugar syrup.

Simple soaking syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or your favorite flavor extract
Mix together the water and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, mix in vanilla extract and cool before using. When cool, sprinkle or brush on cake.

The stabilized whipped cream frosting was a new recipe I tried and was very happy with. I will be posting the recipe in a later blog post. It is not only light, fluffy and delicious, but it also holds up extremely well after being piped- two, three, even four days! Highly recommended!

The vanilla pastry cream was time-consuming but so worth it! I will definitely be making it again- and will post the recipe very soon.

For video tutorial on how to make the sponge cake, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI3PQ1baI4U

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