Spring has finally sprung here in the northeast, and to celebrate, the girls and I whipped up this fabulous, rustic sponge cake the other day, and topped it with a deluge of freshly whipped cream, and a delicious gathering of macerated berries.
This is another recipe from the quite wonderful cookbook Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont (Shelburne Farms Books) by Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while, waiting for warm weather and fresh berries to make their debut this season. It is a great, casual dessert that can look quite stunning if plated with a little care. The base cake and berry mix can be made in advance, with the only last minute thing to wrangle being the whipping of the cream.
The recipe will make one 13″x9″ rectangular cake, or 2 – 9″ rounds. We made the two rounds, ate one immediately, and froze the other which the girls finished later in the week as a birthday cake for their Dad…that’s my kinda two-fer!
This is a simple cake to make, and has a lovely “made from scratch” crumb to it. One tip that is shared in the cookbook is to make sure your oven is fully pre-heated and your pan buttered and floured before you get started mixing your batter, because the batter must be poured immediately into the pan once mixed (the batter will have bubbles) in order to achieve the desired texture.
The cake would also be delicious simply topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and served as a light snack with afternoon coffee or tea. Chances are I’ll never experience the cake this way myself, because having had it with whipped cream and berries, I’m not sure I could EVER have it any other way
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- confectioner's sugar - or -
- 2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a mix of fresh berries, macerated with a drizzle of "good" balsamic vinegar, a dusting of fine granulated sugar, and a few turns of fresh black pepper from a grinder.
- Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Butter and flour either 2 - 9" round, or 1- 13"x9" baking pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until light, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running on medium, slowly add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light yellow and comes off the whisk in a ribbon when the whisk is lifted, about 7-8 minutes.
- While the eggs and sugar are beating, bring the milk and butter just to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir the vanilla into the hot milk.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the hot milk mix to the egg mixture. Mix until combined, then reduce the mixer speed and add the flour mixture slowly, just until thoroughly combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pan(s) and place them into the oven.
- Bake the 13"x9" cake for 25-30 minutes, or the 9" rounds for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are browned and just pulling away from the pan or a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean. Do NOT overbake. let cool slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.