Portuguese Sponge Cake Recipe
This Portuguese sponge cake is a simple cake, yet refined technique produces the most amazing texture that the Japanese have perfected.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, double sifted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch-square cake pan with parchment paper. (Smearing a little butter or shortening in the pan first will help the paper stick.) Top paper with a sprinkling of sugar.
Place the eggs in a bowl of warm water (about 100 degrees) until warm, about 10 minutes; drain. Heat a large pot of water to a boil; turn off the heat. Mix the milk and 1/4 cup honey, in a small bowl; set aside.
Break the warm eggs into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Place over the steaming pot of water; mix with a hand mixer, adding the sugar slowly, 5 minutes. Move the bowl to the stand mixer; beat with the whisk attachment at medium speed, or level 3, 5 minutes. Reduce speed one level; beat, 5 minutes. Reduce speed to lowest setting, beat, 5 minutes. (You want to end beating at the lowest speed so that the batter has small bubbles. The batter is ready when it is thick enough to form soft peaks.) Slowly add the milk and honey mixture. Whisking by hand, add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Pour the batter into the pan up to the top. (Any leftover batter may be baked alongside in lined cupcake or muffin tins; bake these for 20 to 25 minutes.) Bake until a skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon honey and a little hot water, to make a glaze. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, brush the top with the glaze.
Let the cake sit in the pan until cool enough to handle but still warm. Lift out of the pan, paper and all; place in a zip-close bag. Seal; refrigerate several hours. (This step will helpkeep the cake moist.)
Cut off the sides of the cake with a very sharp knife to expose the yellow interior. Cut the cake into small, neat slices. Count on one or two slices of cake per person.