Food on Friday – Chocolate Sponge Cake – Happy Birthday Chip


Chip’s birthday is in May and this year the boys and I decided to make his birthday cake for him rather than run to the store and get one that would probably taste better and definitely look better.  But this cake had all that extra love poured into it so I knew Chip would appreciate it more no matter how it turned out – which is good because I will tell you right from the start that I think it came out a little dry, but I am going to tell you what we did and hope that cooks much more creative than I can figure out what we did wrong.

The idea for this cake came from Bon Appetit, and we used their recipe which you can find here:  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/03/chocolate-sponge-cake  This recipe was in an article that said that you can tell how good a cook is based on how they make three basic recipes and this was one of them.  Sigh.  I guess we are not as good as we had hoped but let me tell you what we did.

First – here is the list of ingredients you need.

  • 1tablespoonunsalted butter, room  temperature
  • 1/4cupnatural unsweetened cocoa powder plus  more for pan
  • 1/4cupcake flour
  • 4large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2cupplus 6 teaspoons  sugar
  • 1teaspoonvanilla  extract

Chocolate Icing

  • 3/4cupheavy cream
  • 1cupsemisweet or bittersweet chocolate  chips (do not exceed 61% cacao)

We started by preparing our pan.  We put a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 pan, buttered the sides and the paper to grease our pan and then dusted it with cocoa powder.  It looked like this.

Cocoa powder does not move across the pan as easily as flour does so I had to use my fingers to try to break up the clumps.  Hmmmm.  I may need to practice this a bit more.

Next was sifting the flour and cocoa together.  They said to do it through a fine mesh sieve but my sifter just looked a bit dusty to me after sitting in the cupboard for too long, so I pulled out my wire mesh strainer and a wooden spoon and “sifted” it through that three times.

Hmmm.  That’s not much flour for a cake.  But lets keep moving.

Next we made our two egg mixtures – this is where Jesse jumped in to help.  We cracked two eggs into the batter bowl and then separated two more eggs, putting the whites in one of our pyrex mixing bowls and the yolks into the batter bowl with the first two eggs.  Jesse then got to work with the hand mixer beating the egg yolks while I added the sugar and vanilla.

I get such a kick out of working with Jesse on these blogs.  He will be working intently, and sometimes even grumpily, but when I pull out the camera to take a picture of what he is doing he flashes me these huge smiles – love it!  And yes, he is doing this with the bowl on a stool.  This is because Chip moved my cupboard that was under the electrical outlets last year and then got busy and hasn’t built a new one to replace it yet – so we use the stool to hold anything we have to plug in.  Not the best option but it works.  In this house, you learn to be flexible because life just happens at a slightly faster pace than we can keep up with.

Next we washed the beaters and Jesse got back to work – this time beating the two egg whites until they were foamy, at which point we added more sugar, (okay, this is sounding better) to the egg whites and continued beating until soft peaks formed.

So now we had our components – the egg whites, the egg batter and the chocolate/cocoa dry ingredients.

I pulled out a spatula and started the “folding” process – adding half of the egg whites to the egg batter, then half of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the egg whites and then the rest of the dry ingredients, until we had our cake batter.

This looked promising.  We poured it into our cocoa dusted pan and put into the 400 degree oven for 12 minutes.  (Maybe I should have only done 10 minutes?  Maybe that extra 2 minutes dried it out?)

The cake looked pretty good when it came out.

Not so hot when I flipped it out of the pan (still too much cocoa powder in the bottom of the pan – Sigh)

We made the frosting (super easy – just stir chocolate chips into scalded heavy cream) and then made a filling because the recipe does not include a filling – though there was probably enough frosting to do a thin strip of filling between each row and a thin frosting – but that was not what we were going for.  So we whipped up some more heavy cream and cut up some strawberries for the filling.  We cut the cake into thirds cross-wise (resulting in a 4″ x 8″ cake), spread the whipped cream and then a layer of strawberries in between the layers, frosted it with the chocolate frosting and added Happy Birthday candles and it was ready to go.

Once we had the cake at the table, and the Happy Birthday Hat on the birthday boy, we were ready to roll.

Chip blew out the candles and we cut the cake.

The vanilla ice cream helped to cut the heavy chocolate of the cake and frosting.

I will say that, though I thought it was kinda dry, there was nothing left by the next morning and the birthday boy was happy.

Happy Birthday my beloved husband.  I am so happy to celebrate that you were born.

I’m not sure what we are making next week – probably a red velvet cake in honor of my beloved son who is graduating from college.  (Woo Hoo!!)  Now back to that vest I am knitting to try to have something to show you on Monday – right after I finish writing this brief . . . sigh.  Well, onward and upward.  Have a great weekend.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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