As many of you know, there is always a photo of my father’s mother somewhere in the store, looking over my dad’s shoulder and making sure he never puts his earing back in (ask him for the story if you don’t already know it 🙂 ) This recipe is one of my fondest memories of her.
Every year for Passover when my Grandmother was still alive, we would all pile into her small New York City apartment with a kitchen that barely fit one, to feast on a lavish multicourse
meal prepared by Oma. It had all of our families’ favorites, hard boiled eggs and boiled potatoes, chicken soup with short ribs and bone marrow, roast chicken, kugel, but for me, the peak of the meal was always her Sponge cake. I would always joke she made two, one for me, and one for everyone else, but of course it was one for each night. Here is Oma’s famous sponge cake recipe with a few notes added as I’ve learned my lessons trying to replicate my memories.
10 Eggs, separated, make sure there is no yolk in the egg whites
1 Cup cake meal
1 Cup + 1 tbs white sugar
1 1/2 – 2 lemons zested and juiced
1 tsp of cream of tartar (if on hand)
2 Tube pans*
Preheat oven to 375 F
Beat the egg yolks with a whisk attachment until they triple in size and create a nice foam, gently fold in with a whisk 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of cake meal, the juice and zest of 1-2 lemons.
In a separate bowl with clean utensils beat the egg whites till they begin to foam, add in remaining sugar and cream of tartar, then continue to beat until they triple in volume and hold firm peaks.
Fold one third of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it up, then add the yolk + white mixture to the remaining egg whites. Pour this batter into two tube pans and bake for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted knife or cake tester or skewer comes out clean.
Flip the pans over and let cool. If the pans have “feet” they can cool upside down, if they do not, flip them onto a wine bottle, so the stem goes through the whole and they are suspended in the air, by cooling upside down they stay as fluffy as possible.
To remove from the pans cut down the sides with a sharp knife, and remove the center with the cake, then cut the cake off of the center piece.
*A note on the pans, you must have a two-piece tube pan, also known as an angel food cake pan, and it can not, I repeat, can not be nonstick. I made this mistake last year. While the cakes were cooling upside down, they slowly fell out and sat on the table, compressing onto itself, yielding a denser cake than desired.
My personal favorite way to serve this cake is with simple raspberries in syrup.
While you sit down for dinner, pour raspberries into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar, lightly toss and allow to sit at room temperature. The sugar will pull the juices from the raspberries, yielding a light and sweet syrup around these tart berries. Perfect to soak into a light sponge cake. I’m also a sucker for honey out of a bowl with one of Oma’s honey dippers.
Enjoy and most importantly, from our family to yours, Happy Passover!