Allow me please to introduce you to 'Chocolate Fluff' — a soufflé-like, delicately-flavoured chocolate sponge cake — one of the absolute favourites on my baking repertoire. Every time I make it, I'm reminded of how very, very good it is, and I always find myself going in for seconds, as do my guests who sample it. It's simply one of 'those' cakes.
I had originally published the recipe in my newspaper column in the late 90s, and here in 2011, in the early stages of this little blog. I know you will appreciate that this is a Good Thing that I'm keen to share again, especially now that my readership is likely to attract more than two comments, with thanks to my friends Lorraine from NQN, and 'The Dog'.
When it comes to cakes, I find myself opting for featherweight types over the dense, heavily-iced sugary specimens, although they too have their place on the sweets trolley, I'm sure. If your taste buds are anything like mine, you might like to try this nougat passionfruit sponge or these more decadent vanilla sponge squares.
As always, use only the freshest ingredients when baking sponge cakes, particularly free-range eggs which you should bring to room temperature before you start cooking. In her brilliant tome, CookWise, culinary sleuth Shirley O. Corriher says that while old thin egg whites will whip up faster than very fresh ones, fresh egg whites maker a stabler foam that holds up better in a soufflé or cake. Also, the colder the egg whites, Corriher says, the longer it takes to beat them to a good foam.
One more thing, always handle sponge cakes with a little bit of care, as their light and airy texture can settle and shrink quickly. And there's nothing worse than watching your masterpiece slowly deflate.
Happy baking xo
CHOCOLATE FLUFF SPONGE CAKE
4 free-range eggs, separated
2/3 cup vanilla-infused caster sugar or golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon (20ml) golden syrup, warmed
Combined dry ingredients:
1 level tablespoon (20ml) cocoa
1/2 cup maize cornflour
2 level tablespoons (40ml) plain (AP) flour (or gluten free flour)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
whipped cream, with a dash of vanilla
fresh strawberries, sliced
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line two round 20cm cake tins with baking paper. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually beat in the caster sugar, followed by the egg yolks (one at a time), then whisk in the golden syrup.
Combine the cocoa, cornflour, plain flour and bicarb in a small bowl and run a balloon whisk through the mixture several times to break up any small lumps (or, sift it if you must). Using a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake tins and bake for 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Turn the cakes out carefully onto wire racks that you have lined with baking paper... I find that this prevents the cake from sticking and also leaves no marks. Gently remove the baking paper from the cakes and allow to them to cool. Fill with slightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Serves 8.
A soufflé-like chocolate sponge cake, one of my absolute favourites...
Note: As an acknowledgement of the original recipe source, it was shared many times over in the late 90s by a lady I once knew, who apparently originally acquired it from her friend, Carmel. I have not found anything like it in any of my cook books, although there is a recipe for Ginger Fluff in my 1946 edition of the CWA Coronation Cookery Book. The recipe I have shared here is my own version, with changes that suit my taste buds (for example, I use less sugar, add a hint of vanilla, and so on). I have also written the recipe in my own words.
Tell me dear readers, what are your favourite cakes? Share your stories. I do love hearing from you.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.