Happy new week! And Happy Passover to everyone out there who is still celebrating all the way through this coming Saturday. Today I have a very special treat for you. Instead of sharing a recipe of mine, my beloved mother has guest written my blog post for today. Are you ready? Here we go!
Hi, everyone. This is Anita, Mir’s Mom, and I’m writing my first-ever (and probably only-ever) guest blog for Just About Baked. I actually don’t love baking, and I’m not much good at it. I’d rather practice the piano. However, I just finished baking an amazing cake and thought that it was time for our family to share the recipe with the world.
When you grow up in a Jewish family, you know that at the end of the Passover Seder meal each year, you will receive a slice of sponge cake. And you know that no matter who baked it that year, it’s gonna taste more or less like, well, a sponge.
But not this sponge cake. This one tastes like a luscious slice of heaven with a bit of crunchy sugar on top.
When I met my wonderful husband (Mir’s Dad), I was invited for a meet-the-folks dinner. The dessert was this sponge cake, which my future mother-in-law (Mir’s future grandmother) used to bake not only at Passover but all year round. Yes, it’s that good.
It’s so good in fact, that my MIL used to bake a dozen at a time. She gave them out as gifts to family members, friends and neighbors. She never measured ingredients, though, so the way I learned to bake it was by watching her carefully and copying every step.
No one can resist this cake. When Mir’s biggest brother was three or four years old, he spied a sponge cake on the table, awaiting dinner. And every time he passed it, he snatched a little bit from the bottom. My MIL noticed the growing hole and observed with a smile, “What happened to the cake? I think we have a mouse.”
This cake isn’t easy to make, and it also takes the better part of an hour. But it’s worth the trouble. When you savor it, think of Mir’s grandmother—a tiny lady with curly white hair, who loved everyone she knew and baked them all cakes.
The Best Passover Sponge Cake
9 jumbo eggs
3/4 cup matza cake meal (note: not regular matza meal)
1/4 cup potato starch
1 and 1/4 cup sugar plus a bit more
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sweet red wine (unsweetened grape juice also works)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Sift together the matza cake meal and potato starch. Mix together the vinegar, oil, lemon juice and wine.
- Prepare 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of sugar in separate cups.
- Separate 8 eggs (into 2 large bowls) and then throw the 9th egg whole into the yolk mixture.
- Beat the yolks at high speed until they’re frothy. Add 3/4 of a cup of sugar to the yolk mixture at low speed. Add the cake meal/potato starch mixture to the yolks at low speed. Finally, add liquids to yolks at low speed.
- Unplug the mixer and rinse the beaters. Beat the egg whites at high speed. Add 1/2 cup sugar slowly to the whites. Beat the whites mixture until there are soft peaks, but not stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the whites (don’t stir them, or the cake will fail) into the yolk mixture. Pour 1/3 of the batter into an ungreased tube pan and sprinkle some of the cinnamon mixture on it. Pour another 1/3 of the batter into the pan and sprinkle some of the cinnamon mixture on it. Pour the remaining 1/3 of the batter into the pan. You will have 3 shallow-looking layers.
- Lance the batter in five places with a spatula and sprinkle the top lightly with sugar.
- Bake for exactly 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, don’t let anyone jump on the floor and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR (doing so will cause the cake to fail). Remove the cake and immediately turn it upside-down on a wine bottle.
- Leave it to cool upside-down overnight.
- To remove the cake from the pan, turn it right-side-up and then cut carefully around the outer and inner sides with a sharp knife. Then do the same with the bottom. Use a gentle sawing motion and don’t press.Then lift the cake out and place it on a cake plate for everyone to admire.
- Store in an airtight container to prevent the cake from hardening.