For the past 17 days I’ve been here in New England visiting my in-laws for the holidays. It’s been wonderful spending that time with them but man has it been cold. Most of our time spent here has seen temps of 3 to 15 degrees. Needless to say, this California girl is not used to that kind of cold, though I know that it’s also not the norm for the locals either. Regardless of the cold weather and the blizzard that’s kept us from our flight home, we’ve had a memorable time we won’t yet forget. Especially for our two boys getting that time spent with their grandparents. I know they adore each other.
During our last night at my in-law’s house, I came across an old cookbook from 1969 by French chef, Raymond Oliver, called La Cuisine: Secrets of Modern French Cooking. My mother-in-law collects old books and I was thrilled to have come across this. I was just completely bummed that I hadn’t come across it sooner. So that night I sat in bed and looked through it determined to find something I could make the next morning that wouldn’t take long and that I wouldn’t have to shop to prepare for. I was almost out of luck until I came across this spongecake recipe. It seemed simple enough and I thought it would make a great breakfast with some coffee or tea. I know it’s not a coffee cake, but as far as I’m concerned, any cake makes a great breakfast.
This spongecake came out extremely light and airy. It was a big hit with the family and it didn’t take long to make either. We served ours with berries and whipped cream, but it would also work well served with a marmalade or jam. My mother-in-law mentioned how she could also see a flavoring being added to the batter such as lemon or almond if you wanted to change it up and that would work just as well. It’s a fairly basic sponge batter so let your imagination be your guide. Just remember not to add too much additional liquid to the batter because it would change the consistency and possibly not set up properly.
BISCUIT DE SAVOIE
5 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sifted cornstarch
Beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar together in a bowl until the mixture is almost white and drops off a spoon in broad bands. Add the vanilla and then blend in the flour and cornstarch sifted together. (The batter will be very thick at this point, almost like a dough).
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining sugar, continuing to beat until they form stiff peaks. Fold them into the batter, lifting it to incorporate as much air as possible.
Butter and flour the bottom only of an 8 cup ring mold. Pour the batter into the mold and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes.
Recipe from the cookbook, La Cuisine: Secrets of Modern French Cooking