Saturday, June 16, 2012

In the Kitchen: Custard Sponge Cake

...or "Sandwich" instead of cake, which is how they would say it in Britain for these sort of cakes with custard or jam in the middle.  I made this cake for my tea party and promised I would share it. It is very simple, but also very delicious. Yes..... I know it is Saturday and not Friday (the day I am supposed to post a recipe), but we went on a backpacking trip on Friday for Tyler's birthday and got back today. I meant to do it before we left, but I never got around to it. I suppose I should just not mention the fact that I am a day late and nobody would notice, but then that just would not be very "me", hehe. Today, is Tyler's birthday and I would go on about how wonderful he is, but our anniversary is next week, so you can hear all about that then. Let's get to that recipe!

Custard Sponge Sandwich
(from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz)

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
powdered sugar, for dusting

For the custard:
1 cup whole milk
1/2 heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 tbsp corn starch
pinch salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla


I would recommend making the custard first since it has to be refrigerated until you can use it. So, I will start with the custard. Without further ado......

By the way, I highly recommend making this custard, it really is quite simple to make. Do not use a packaged custard! It simply does not taste as good.

Combine milk, cream, 2 tbsp of the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small sauce pan and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar until smooth.

Heat the milk mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it is hot, but not bubbling. Reduce heat to low. Slowly pour a1/2 cup of hot mixture into the into the egg mixture, whisking quickly to temper the egg yolks. Pour the egg yolk mixture slowly into the saucepan while stirring constantly. Return to medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Remove from heat once the mixture is boiling and thickened (it will thicken more in the fridge so don't worry if it does not look quite thick enough). Add the vanilla and stir in. The recipe says to strain the custard through a sieve, so that it is nice and smooth. I, however, do not have a sieve and my custard turned out perfectly fine, tasty and smooth without a sieve. So, if you don't have one either, don't worry about it. Put into a medium size bowl and cover with plastic wrap (as in, have the plastic touching the custard so a skin does not form). Refrigerate until cold.

Sponge Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch (mine are 9-inch, so it was just a bit thinner--which was perfectly fine) cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer, scraping sides of the bowl as needed for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the flour mixture and mix on lowest speed until incorporated. Finish by scraping down and folding the batter together with a rubber spatula. 

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (it is fairly thick, so make sure to spread it out). Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown, but the top of the cake is pale (or do the toothpick check). Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks. 

To Assemble

All you need to do is put your first cake on to a cake stand or plate, then spread as much custard on it as you want (but leaving a little bit of space around the perimeter so when you put the next layer on it does  not all squeeze out), put the next layer on top and dust with powdered sugar. 

Serve with freshly whipped cream and tea.

Piece of cake.

Really. You can all make this! It is so yummy. 
The cake pictured with the other tea party delectables.

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