There are so many different types of cake out there. The ones with jams and fresh fruits layered between fresh cream and swiss meringue frosting. And you can’t stay away from those chocolate ones, the ones drowned in ganache.
But sometimes all that decadence isn’t what you need. What about those cakes that are light as air, subtly flavored to perfection? Something to go with that afternoon cup of tea. And on that note, I must point out that as a Pakistani, afternoon tea holds the significance of a tradition that can’t be broken. It’s hardwired into our system so much so that it’s a proper meal. Age doesn’t matter. Chai, as we call it, is our coffee. And having chai on it’s own is just unheard of. How can you not have a trolley full of snacks both savory and sweet to devour with a hot cup of chai? HOW???
(see the pretty specks of orange zest?!)
From here stems my search for the perfect sponge cake. I’ve been after a recipe like this for ages. My grandmother used to make a cake at least once a week, and me being the greedy child that I was, ate most of it. It wasn’t one of those cakes that needed the ingredients to be weighed out to the gram. She just threw everything together and it always turned out delicious. She gave me the recipe a few years ago, but I lost it. It’s been years now since she last made it, and she can’t remember the recipe anymore, but this cake inspired by Nigella Lawson is pretty close! And from what I can remember from that battered napkin that was lost, most of the ingredients are similar too.
(It’s without a sugar snowfall, but i’m hoping you can see how light and airy the sponge looks!)
I added some orange zest because my Grandmother always added some orange juice to her cake, but this would be great without any as well. And you don’t have to separate the eggs. If you add them whole the cake will be denser, but it’ll still taste great. And the yogurt is what makes it taste so mellow. I think i’m going to add yogurt to every cake I make now!
Here’s what you’ll need, besides your oven preheated to 180 C.
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp orange zest (you can replace it with the same amount of vanilla)
In a bowl add the yolks, yogurt and oil and mix until smooth. Mix in the sugar, flour, baking powder and zest.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites with the salt until they form soft peaks. Mix half of the whites into the batter to loosen the mixture a bit, then fold in the remaining whites. Don’t over mix, but the mixture should be pail yellow and slightly frothy because of the whites. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin and bake for 25-35 minutes. The cake won’t rise much, but it’ll be prefect and spongy! Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before taking it out and devouring it! Sprinkle over some icing sugar and you’re good to go!