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On not using wholemeal flour in sponge cakes

January 12, 2012

The problem with Bakewell Tart (see yesterday’s post) is that it doesn’t like to hang around – and the one I made yesterday was no exception. You just get the hang of there being cake in the kitchen when it’s gone. So you make another cake, and that way fatness lies. At least with a Bakewell you can use wholemeal flour for the cake bit – for the pastry too I suppose – and there are ground almonds in it, so you can imagine that it’s doing you some good – or at least not doing so much harm. A sponge cake such as today’s offering has no such redeeming feature – unless you count the strawberries, but they were in syrup from a tin – so not really.

Before I go further I need to say a word or two about wholewheat/meal things. (You might disagree). Wholewheat flour makes fantastic bread, it can be used to make great cakes – see above – and melt in the mouth pastry. BUT it should not be used to make a sponge cake. It’s too crumbly and too airy and adds a nuttiness that’s just not appropriate. (Wholewhat flour should under no circumstances be used to make pasta either  – nasty and gritty and completely undisguisable no matter what sauce you put with it – yuk, yuk, yuk!)

Back to the cake. I had about an ounce of  mascarpone cheese in the fridge which said “icing” to me. There was also a tin of “strawberries in light syrup” which looked as if they might stay on the shelf for years unless someone was proactive. Given these ingredients and the pressing need for more cake, a sponge seemed the answer.

Mix 6oz of caster sugar with 6oz  butter and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy – do this by hand with a wooden spoon and get some valuable exercise. Separate three eggs and beat the whites in first – bit by bit – and then the yolks – seems to stop the mixture from curdling. Slowly fold in 6oz (white) self raising flour and add a little water if the mixture seems too stiff. Put into two greased and floured 8″ cake tins and bake at about 180c/350f for about 25 minutes. Cool. Put 1oz mascarpone in a bowl and mix in about 4oz icing/powdered sugar and a little syrup from a tin of strawberries until it looks as if it’ll coat the cake (and not slither off down the side as soon as you’ve finished). Use this icing with strawberries added to sandwich the cakes together – when they’re cool – and to ice the top. Decorate with strawberries. Eat instead of eating all the other stuff left over from Christmas that you should really be eating.

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