I saw a recipe for Clear Water Sponge Cake on The Little Teochew which looked very much like the sponge cakes that are often sold at chinese bakeries. Super spongy and light as air, the chinese sponge cakes are usually the size of oversized muffins. I always pick up a few when I visit a chinese bakery and I make sure to eat them right away because they spoil quickly.
I wasn't sure if these clear water cakes were the same, but they looked remarkably similar and they were easy to make. In fact, I was a bit suspicious at how easy the recipe looked. A lot of chinese desserts and bakery items are pretty complicated to make.
After I finished mixing the batter, I realized that there was no baking powder agent to make the cake rise. I was really concerned. I knew the egg whites would help the sponge cakes rise, but I wasn't sure it was enough. I double checked the recipe, but I was afraid that something got lost in the translation, or perhaps the flour used in the original recipe already had baking powder inside it.
To my relief, the cakes came out fine. They were soft, spongy, airy. They didn't rise that much though. So I still wonder if I was supposed to have baking powder in there. Perhaps next time I'll fill the batter cup higher too, to make these cakes higher.
I'll have to investigate more to see if I should have put in baking powder, but the recipe as written is great too. The cakes tasted just like the chinese sponge cakes I get in the chinese bakeries! I used a regular muffin pan rather than the oversized ones, so these are more like mini sponge cakes. I had no idea they were so easy to make. Next time, I'm just going to make my own rather than buying them.
Mini sponge cakes (adapted from The Little Teochew)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 50g corn oil
- 50g cake flour
- 3 egg whites
- 50g castor sugar
- Dash of salt
1) Beat (A) till well mixed with an egg beater.
2) Sift in (B), mix well.
3) Whisk (C) till frothy, add (D) and beat till stiff peaks.
Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, mix
till well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups till 60% full.
5) Bake in preheated oven at 150C for about 18-20mins.