Recipe revised December 2017
I originally published this recipe in December 2010. Over the years I've discovered new tips which have helped yield a better cake. As I keep learning, I will keep sharing with you all. The previous recipe was a little heavy because of the addition of milk, but if you enjoyed that recipe, see below. It also yielded one cake which was half the recipe. I think this sponge cake (pound cake) recipe is perfect for me. It doesn't taste eggy and it bakes up beautifully. It's soft and so moist. Please see updated instructions below.
Growing up, I always remembered my mom baking up a storm during Christmas time. Christmas cookies were never really a staple, but cake, definitely. She would also make delicious beverages like mauby, sorrel, and ginger beer. There was one cake, in particular, that was my favorite; sponge cake (which is not actually a sponge cake, but rather a pound cake). Yesterday we had a gathering at our house and it definitely gave us a reason to start our Christmas baking.
In my research, I have discovered that the sponge cake is really a pound cake and all this time, Guyanese have been terming this cake something that it is not. Fellow blogger and journalist, Cynthia Nelson, discusses more here. She highlights what makes a sponge cake a sponge cake and what makes a pound cake a pound cake. It all has to do with the egg to flour ratio. In a sponge cake, there is more egg than flour which allows it to have a very foamy, springy texture (think of angel cake here). A pound cake has heavy fat content that comes from the butter, making it a pound cake, not a sponge cake. I suppose we call in sponge cake because of the appearance to an actual sponge cake. Nonetheless, it is my favorite cake of the season. Enjoy this new recipe, it is fantastic!
- This recipe uses 9in pans, but I have also used two 8in pans when making sponge cake. It gives the cake a nice height and the batter divides perfectly between the two pans. These are the pans I bought from amazon, you'll need two of them- http://amzn.to/2kqh96q
- Darker cake pans will make your cake brown up faster than lighter ones. I prefer to use light colored pans for this reason.
- When butter and eggs are at room temperature, the cake blends better. To speed up process of bringing eggs to room temperature, place eggs in a bowl of warm water. Be careful not to make the water too hot, otherwise it can start to cook the eggs.
- We remove the little white membrane from each egg, my mom says when it's in the batter it leaves little rubbery bits in the cake. Some say it also makes the cake renk.
- I used my stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar and used a hand mixer to whip the eggs. You do not need two mixers to make this cake. If using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Rinse beaters then whip eggs in separate bowl until foamy.
- When mixing in flour, add a little at a time and mix gently. Over mixing the flour can yield a stiff cake.
- My mom likes to put a small pan of hot water on the very bottom of the oven (not the rack, the actual floor of the oven). She says the steam helps the cake rise nicely. I have tried this and it works beautifully!
- We sometimes add red and green food coloring to the batter to make it more festive. To do this, remove equal parts of batter into separate bowls. Add food coloring then pour into baking pans. Swirl with a butter knife.
- Baking pans may be lined with parchment paper. I like to butter and flour my pans for extra flavor.
- 1 lb unsalted butter (4 sticks)
- 1 lb light brown sugar or white granulated, about 2 level cups
- 8 or 9 eggs, room temperature
- Zest of one orange
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract or mixed essence
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, level
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring butter and eggs to room temperature. Butter and flour 2 9-inch baking pans, set aside.
- Add flour, spices and baking powder to a mixing bowl, set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy using a stand mixer or hand mixer, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
- In a separate mixing bowl, crack eggs one at a time and remove little white membrane from each egg using a fork or spoon. Add orange and lemon zests, beat until frothy, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add egg mixture to butter and sugar mixture a little at a time. Scrape sides of bowl as you go.
- Once egg mixture is incorporated, add flour mixture a little at a time. Fold in gently. Spatula should stand up when placed in the center of the mixing bowl.
- Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Fill a small tray or pan half way with water. Place on bottom of oven.
- Place cake in middle rack of oven. Bake 36-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I used my stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar and used a hand mixer to whip the eggs. You do not need two mixers to make this cake. If using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Rinse beaters then whip eggs in separate bowl until foamy.
Brown sugar may be used in place of white sugar. Salted butter may be used entirely, just do not add the additional "dash of salt" recipe calls for.
If you enjoyed the previous recipe prior to my update (December 2017), here it is:
- 8oz salted butter/ 2 sticks (not margarine)
- 1 cup light brown sugar or white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ lemon zest (I used ½)
- ¼ orange zest (I used ½)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you mix the batter.
- Sift all dry ingredients together.
- Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and light.
- Add eggs a little at a time.
- Add lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla.
- Add a little bit of flour and mix into wet ingredients. Add a little milk and keep alternating flour and milk until it is all incorporated.
- Butter and flour your pan and pour prepared mixture into pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
- Let cake cool before turning it onto a cake platter. Makes one 9in round pan.