the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

23
August

National Sponge Cake Day

Posted by Brittany

National Sponge Cake DaySponge cake is one of the earliest non-yeasted cakes, appearing in English records as early as 1615. The delicious dessert is made from simple ingredients — flour, sugar, eggs, and sometimes baking powder and other flavorings — but with an emphasis on the method of creating the cake. Care is taken during the beating, whisking, and sieving of the ingredients in order to ensure that enough air is incorporated into the final mixture for it to earn it’s descriptive name, “sponge cake.” Many recipes and varieties of the cake exist and it lends itself well as a base for other treats, especially due to its fresh-from-the-oven flexible nature, which allows it to be manipulated and rolled. Sponge cakes are popular sweets; Queen Victoria favored a slice with her afternoon tea, and as a result a version of sponge cake featuring jam and cream was monikered “Victoria Sponge.” The cake is also very popular during Passover in the United States since it is not leavened with yeast, with many families passing their “Passover Sponge Cake” recipe down through the generations.

I’ve always loved angel food cake, which is very similar to sponge cake, except it uses only egg whites instead of whole eggs. There’s just something about the light and fluffy texture of an airy cake that makes my mouth water. Add a little whipped cream, and maybe a few strawberries and I’m in heaven! But as much as I love baking, I was a little surprised to realize I’ve never made a short cake, sponge cake, or angel food cake from scratch. In honor of National Sponge Cake Day, Chris and I decided that we needed to change that!

Today was an odd day for us. I was actually a little stressed out about all of the things on my “to do” list, including tonight’s inaugural Neigh Sponge Cake. I’d planned to fit in a work out after I left the office, which would usually mean that I wouldn’t arrive home until after dark, just a few hours before bedtime. But Mother Nature had a different plan for us today. Right before 2 P.M., as I was eating lunch in my company’s tenth floor cafeteria, a 5.9 earthquake struck central Virginia. Earthquakes are rare in our area, especially perceptible ones, so it took a few seconds for me and my coworkers to figure out what was going on. We exited the building while it was briefly evacuated, but eventually returned to the office to finish our work day. Chris’s office, on the other hand, decided to close for the rest of the day. Stuck in the heart of Washington, D.C., and facing horrible traffic and slowed metro-rail lines (both due to the ensuing mayhem of the earthquake which, by the way, appears to have left most of our local infrastructure unharmed), Chris was lucky enough to bum a ride to a convenient meeting place from a coworker. This meant I had to skip the gym to pick him up, but it also meant we got home a little earlier than planned.

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