Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Loren and Quincy's Test Kitchen: The Sponge Cake-Off!

 Qunicy & Loren (below)
Loren Tripp reporting from her Test Kitchen in Pasadena:

"Chef Quincy and I made these last night in our Test Kitchen.  We weren’t sure what pans to use, so we used identical 9” dark insulated round cake pans.  Q made Mrs. Batch, I made True.  We brought the eggs and butter up to room temperature.  We used unbleached flour (Not organic, though.) 

We used 3 medium eggs and about a tablespoon of lemon juice for Mrs Batch. The method was an odd process; you get a thick paste of batter, then you thin it with the hot water.  I was afraid Quincy would end up with scrambled egg strands, but that didn’t happen. The batter almost overflowed the top of our pan, perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come! 

True Sponge was a bit more of an elaborate process: beating the egg whites and sifting the bejeebers out of the flour and folding the dry into the wet.  The batter filled the pan about 1/2 full.  
We put both in the oven at 350. We cleaned up the kitchen to the tune of Kool & the Gang. I took True Sponge out of the oven after 40 minutes, as it looked done and slightly browned on top.  Mrs. Batch was struggling under her own mass in there; the edges looked lovely but the center was very liquid.  After 15 more minutes, I removed Mrs. Batch from the oven (Ben, there’s the opener for your next novel...)  and she had collapsed!  The edges looked nice, but the center had fallen; perhaps she is a two pan cake!  

(Photo Right:  Top Cake-Mrs. Batch, Bottom Cake-True Sponge)

The verdict:  First, I don’t have a standard Sponge Cake to compare these to, but I’m guessing it’s a slightly rubbery, holey version of a pound cake that we’re after.  True Sponge is dense with a moist crumble and delicate lemon flavor that is slightly overpowered by sugar. Mrs. Batch’s Sponge Cake fell, but from what we can tell, it’s a more rubbery, holey texture with a strong lemon flavor and not quite as sweet.  is a lovely crunchy crust over the fallen part, which is unintentional, but a nice nibble anyway.  Both are dense and very moist and have a cheery, bright lemon yellow color.  

I think we’ll try Mrs. Batch’s again, with one larger pan and/or 2 8” rounds.  Ada’s True Sponge Cake WINS, if only by default!"

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