Growing up in France, this cake was part of every household’s repertoire. Easy, simple, yet surprisingly satisfying, it belongs to the standards and you will certainly enjoy its minimal ingredient list as well as its ease of preparation. Dorie Greenspan certainly did when she included the following recipe in her “Baking Chez Moi”!!
Give it a try too!
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar, plus extra for dusting
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350F
Butter a Bundt or large cake pan (at least 12-cup capacity). Dust with sugar and tap out excess.
Put egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Put yolks in a large bowl.
Add sugar to the yolks and immediately start beating with a whisk or hand mixer (you do not want the yolks and sugar to stand, because the sugar will “burn” the yolks and cause them to form a “skin”). Beat until mixture is pale and so thick that when you lift the whisk (or beaters), it falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the salt to the egg whites and whip until they hold firm, glossy peaks.
Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the whites, put them on top of the yolks and, using a flexible spatula, stir them in to thin the yolks a little.
Pour the flour over the yolks and fold it in. The mixture which will be very thick, should be well blended. Add another 2 TBsp or so of the whites and, once again, stir them in to lighten the mixture.
Finally, scrape all the remaining whites into the bowl and gently fold them in with the spatula. It’s better to have a few streaks of whites in the batter than to work the mixture so long that the whites deflate. Turn the batter out into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a bamboo stick inserted deep into the center comes out dry. Transfer pan to a rack and let the cake sit for 5 minutes, then use a knife to pry the cake away from the sides of the pan if necessary. Turn the cake over onto a cutting board and let it rest for 3 minutes, just to create some steam, then remove the pan. Transfer cake to a rack to cool right side up.
Just before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.
This cake is extremely simple and even basic but still delicious on its own or dunked into a cup of coffee. However, it is often served with some jam, or a fruit salad (to absorb its juices) or even better, some lemon curd. Its sponge cake qualities really allow many pairings. We actually cut the cake in half and spread its center with a rich chocolate buttercream!! Just pick your own garnish and enjoy!!