Manuela’s organic sponge cake
Four years ago my first daughter, Manuela, was born. It feels like a long time ago and at the same time, like it was yesterday. A long time because when I see photos of when she was a baby I am taken by surprise because I don’t have a vivid memory of those moments and that makes me sad because it was relatively recent. Yet, in some ways, Manuela is still a baby, and I still feel like a first time mother. Everything with her is new.
Manuela is growing and now she is much more aware of everything happening around her, and that is why she gets excited about getting ahead of ourselves and preparing such a beautiful and special day together: her birthday. I want her to have fun getting involved in the party preparations and making her first cake to share with her classmates. My daughter’s two wishes for the desserts on her fourth birthday were very clear: she wanted to make a sponge with lacasitos (smarties) and, although it seems incredible for such a young girl, she also wanted her grandad’s tiramisu.
So the day before her birthday we put our minds to the task and began to buy the organic ingredients to make our homemade sponge. We had an absolute ball being busy in the kitchen and mixing the ingredients with our hands. Little Maria, who was more than delighted to help, or should I say, to make trouble, also joined in.
I am sharing the classic and simple recipe that we call “Manuela’s sponge” at home.
I N G R E D I E N T S
For a medium-sized sponge cake. The “glass” measure corresponds to a yoghurt pot. All the ingredients are organic.
– 2 glasses of natural yoghurt
– 3 glasses of baking flour
– 2 glasses of Xylitol & Stevia (you can use another type of sweetener if you prefer)
– 3 eggs
– ½ glass of extra virgin olive oil
– 1 packet of baking powder
For the topping (optional)
– Chocolate spread
P R E P A R A T I O N
1 | Preheat the oven to 180ºC, with heat coming from above and below.
2 | Mix the eggs with the sugar. The baker in my house, my father, abuelo Manuel, has a trick to make sure this cake turns out spongey. He says to beat these two ingredients really well until the mixture has doubled in size and has created a whitish foam. If you draw an 8 with a whisk and it stays marked, this step is complete.
3 | Continue adding the oil and the yogurt, beating the mixture well.
4 | Sieve and add the flour gradually, making sure it mixes in well.
5 | Lastly, add the baking powder and mix again.
6 | While you leave the mixture to rest, cover the base of the baking tin with baking paper. Make sure the corners are well covered so the sponge doesn’t stick.
7 | Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 40 minutes. Before taking it out, prick it with a fork or knife to make sure it is ready.
8 | Allow the sponge to cool before decorating it with the chocolate spread and the coloured chocolate chips.
Another of my father’s tips for a spongey cake, although it takes a bit longer, is to separate the egg whites from the yolks, whisk them until they form stiff peaks and add them to the mixture at the end, mixing slowly and gently to prevent them from collapsing.
Obviously, with my two girls collaborating in the preparation, the end result is more endearing than appetising. But just seeing how much they enjoyed it made it absolutely worthwhile having to make a second sponge later on, with no little hands getting involved.
Happy birthday my Manuela. When you were born I felt that you were an old soul at heart. Now that I am getting to know you I understand why I had that feeling. You are smart, curious, independent, strong… a personality that drives me to always be alert, to question myself and to learn. You are a true gift.
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