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!"