Monday, May 25, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake (Sponge Cake)

The weather has been so great these last couple of weeks, the long lazy days of summer can't come soon enough. BBQ season has come, and the American fresh berries and other fresh produce are readily available at reasonable prices now. I had been looking for a good sponge cake recipe ever since the bakery, Diana Sweets, where we got all of our birthday cakes from when we were kids went out of business down on Yonge Street in Toronto. With fresh whipped cream and slices of fresh strawberries in between the layers, and the not-so attractively arranged whole strawberries as the decorations on around the edges on the face of the cake, with a scantly written message, we looked forward to this cake at each birthday.

Unfortunately, my kids never got to try a Diana Sweets cake since it closed down before my first child was born. It was my mission to replicate it as I still craved the taste of this special cake. I would scour libraries for baking cookbooks (no internet back then), and magazines looking for the perfect shortcake recipe. I made several different recipes, including some that were actually more like a scone, which is what a shortcake really should be.

Then one day, many years ago, a friend brought this AMAZING dessert to our house. I finally found it! I got the recipe and it has never failed me. Everyone LOVES this cake. I had been making it for a few years. It's a little bit of a nuisance in that you need two separate mixing bowls and quite a few different ingredients, but believe me, it is worth it!

A few years ago, the local grocery store started selling this in a roll form as their "jelly roll" (no jelly though). It was the perfect fix when I didn't feel like baking. About 5 years ago, it was selling for $8.95. The fresh cream, eggs and berries cost me that much! But today, they sell them for $15.95! We still buy it occasionally, but more often than not, I just make it and throw it together myself in a layered fashion.

It is just like the one that the local Village Grocer turns out. Actually, my husband says it's even BETTER!

Separate egg whites and egg yolks.

My little helper.
Beaten egg whites and egg yolks.

Flour added to the egg yolks create a thick pasty consistency.

Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture.
It becomes a light batter.

Pour into a jelly roll pan and spread evenly.

Bake for a bout 15-17 minutes at 325 F. The baking time for a 10" round is about an hour!

Slice cake in half to roll or layer.

Spread whipping cream (my can was low on cream).

Get assistants to add fruit.

Roll or place second half on top and add more fruit and cream for garnish.

Sponge Cake

8 eggs, separated

½ tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp salt

1-1/2 cups sugar, divided

2 tbsp cold water

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp almond extract

½ tsp lemon extract

1 ¼ cup sifted flour

1. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt at high speed until foamy. Add 1 cup of sugar and beat until stiff.

2. In another bowl, beat yolks and ½ cup sugar, water, vanilla, almond and lemon extract. Beat for 5 minutes at high speed until thick.

3. Stir in flour all at once.

4. Gradually fold in egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture.

5. Pour into 10" spring form pan, ungreased. Bake at 325 F for 60-65 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

** For this cake, I spray a 12 x 18 jelly roll pan, being sure to spread the batter evenly and bake for 15 minutes. You can either cut it in half and roll two halves or cut it in half and layer it. Before serving, layer with whipped cream and fresh berries and top with the second half. Before serving, slice cake up, place piece of cake of plate and garnish with a dollop of whipping cream and a strawberry.

**Normally, you don't spray or grease pans for sponge cake, but I find it a lot easier to remove when you give it a light coat of PAM.


  1. Oh, this looks ridiculously delicious. Rolled sponge cake with fresh fruits and cream has always been my favorite. It's light, tender, and not cloyingly sweet.

    Your little helper is so adorable. That face -- she's going to break a LOT of hearts.

  2. It looks amazing! Great dessert for the summer!

  3. Leela, You're right - this IS ridiculously delicious! Then again, how can anything be bad with fresh whipping cream? And about Lauren, my husband already has a shotgun ready :)

    Screamin' Mama: This is an amazing anytime-of-year dessert or meal :)

  4. Thanks for the recipe. It looks scrumptious. Usually the best desserts are the unpretentious ones like this one.