Latest cake was a jelly roll using the Joy of Cooking recipe for Hot-milk sponge cake. This calls for the addition
of baking powder as well as the addition of hot milk and butter added at the end.
The first one I baked for too long, about twenty minutes, coming out too stiff for rolling. Same recipe second
time only for ten minutes, came out very rollable. I didn't get as much lift as anticipated out of the baking powder addition. When cooked,
the cake was about 1/2 inch thick, the recipe amount as written was spread out on a standard half sheet pan.
Certainly a larger batch may fill more of the pan and result in a thicker cake but I will try the next one with no baking powder to see what happens.
Second one had a yellow appearance with a distinct egg aroma but when filled with ganache, rolled and frosted, the egg flavor was not noticeable.
By the way, I ended up bringing it to a party as a buche noel, or yule log on a sliver platter surrounded by meringue mushrooms. It was a big hit. I filled it with a
Grand Marnier ganache and covered with an almond paste chocolate frosting. Once the cake is rolled and frosted, the transition to a "log" takes only a minute. Cut an end off and
rest it on top, frost it to make a "branch". Scrape with a fork to make a bark like appearance. I dusted it with coconut and powdered sugar for snow. And I forgot how easy and fun meringue mushrooms are to make.
One interesting resource for knowledge was "The Patissier's Art" by George Karousis, "Master Chef of the Sea Fare Inn". In the section on sponge cake
he refers to sponge cake making as either Hot method (genoise) or Cold method (chiffon sponges). Hot meaning whipping the whole eggs and sugar over heat, then away from heat until cold, then adding flour. Cold is to separate the eggs, whipping yolks and sugar without heat, whipping whites and sugar and folding the meringue in next, then adding flour.
Perhaps most interesting is that he calls for bread flour while virtually all other recipes have identified cake flour. It is perhaps important to add that all his recipes are in professional amounts, often by pounds, Although intended for a professional audience, the book has many beautiful color photos.
Research on this topic reminded me how much confusion I find with trying to follow the naming process people use. It was more instructive for me to focus on the importance of technique and preparation involved. As noted in an earlier post, many of the variations in recipe are related to relatively small changes in the desired end product. A half cup of this or that did not make enough of a difference to justify calling the end result something else although many recipes do. In all the cakes made thus far, the success or failure of the cake regardless of recipe depended on my ability to be adequately prepared with equipment and ingredient layout, pre heated oven, and proper performance of technique. Separating the whites and yolks had the most noticeable effect of virtually eliminating the eggy aroma and flavor, but not enough of a difference for me to consider I had made an entirely different style of cake.
I also learned that the term biscuit, when referencing this style of cake, is a french term not to be interpreted in the manner Americans use the word biscuit. Still a sponge or genoise, simply a different name that doesn't seem to translate well.
The next experiment will involve making a gluten free version for a Thanksgiving guest.