Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rum Raisin Sponge Cake

After about two weeks or so passed with no baking activity, suddenly I was craving something sweet and cakey.  I chose to make this rum raisin sponge cake.  A long time ago I baked this but I made some mistake in the process and it came out wrong.  This time I decided to try again and proceeded to make this today.  The recipe came from an Indonesian baking book, and books from Indonesia are infamous for being ambiguous about explaining the step-by-step process of baking.  I don't know if this has changed lately because the book that I have was bought 5 years ago.  It seems that when it's a book about cake or Western-style baking, the instructions are scanty; I usually have to consult baking books that I bought here.  Even with the help of my baking books, still I'm puzzled as to what kind of method would be appropriate for certain recipes.  Just recently one of my friends complained that she too found that those baking books that she bought in Indonesia were useless, the temperature of the oven is missing as well as how long it is to bake the cake.  So much for hauling many kilos of books, only to found out that they're not worth the money.

Having said that, I still buy some books whenever I travel to Indonesia because Indonesian-style cakes are different from any cakes I found here.  The flavor combination reflects what I used to eat and the recipes are not overly sweet.  Back to the cake, I started by macerating raisins in rum the night before so the flavor will be full-bodied.  Okay, honestly, I made this twice in three days because I messed up during the mixing and the cake was too dense to be called sponge cake.  I did one again today and made some tweaks in the recipe to get everything right.   Besides, my husband is enamored with the cake that he urged me to make it again.

To make the lightest sponge cake, make sure you sift the flour, sift the confectioners' sugar, beat the egg whites to soft peak, sift the flour again before mixing together, fold the ingredients with light hand, and pray that it'll come out intact :)  Here is the recipe for the cake, it seems fitting to eat this since the weather definitely says spring.

Rum Raisin Sponge Cake

Serves 8 to 10

75 gr raisins

2 Tablespoons dark rum

100 gr all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

4 egg yolks

25 gr granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

100 ml canola cooking oil

4 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

75 gr confectioners' sugar, sifted

Extra confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

The day before making the cake, place raisins in a small bowl with the rum and let it steep overnight covered.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Sift confectioners' sugar.  Have ready a 8-x 3-inch round cake pan, grease bottom and sides of pan, line bottom of pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper again.  Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer, beat with wire whisk until it turns pale in color, about 2 minutes, scraping sides frequently.  Add vanilla extract and canola oil, beat again for about 1 minute.

In a clean bowl with wire whisk, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.  Pour confectioners' sugar gradually, scrape sides if needed.  Beat with high speed until the mixture reaches soft peak.  Take a cupful of egg white mixture to the bowl of egg yolks mixture, stir until combined.  Add this mixture to the egg whites and using folding technique, fold these two together until halfway combined.  Sift flour mixture on top of the bowl and fold again until the flour disappears.  Lastly, add the macerated raisins and fold until well combined.

Pour into the pan, tap the pan lightly on the counter and bake on the center rack about 40 to 45 minutes.  The top of cake should be brown and spring back when touched.  When it's done, immediately invert the pan onto a plate lined with parchment paper.  Peel off the parchment paper from the bottom of cake and invert again onto a cooling rack lined with parchment paper.  Let it cool completely before cutting.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired.


  1. Eliza,
    Your cake is beautiful and your pictures are awesome!!!
    I will try your recipe someday

    hey, thanks Tuty! i hope you'll like it!

  2. Eliza, I just luuuuuuuve your new 'home'. And your sponge cake does look very spongy, got to try!

    Gattina! how nice of you to say that :) I'm so happy to share recipe to everyone, so go ahead try it sometime!

  3. hi there,

    thanks for sharing the receipe....
    used dried mixed fruits instead of just raisins...
    had a spongey rum mixed fruit cake this afternoon....
    cheers !


    Hi Yan, thank you for visiting. I'm glad you found the recipe to your liking, come back soon, eh? :)

  4. [...] this time I made a rollcake with sponge cake base.  The method is practically the same as this post and the filling is the same this post.  I’ve based my rollcake from two books which I, [...]

  5. This cake looks really light and airy! I'll definitely try this next time I make sponge cake!

    it really is, one of the best recipes for sponge cake!

  6. Wow wow wow. What a wonderful light and spongy not too sweet perfect cake for tea or coffee or snack time! I will make this over and over. But I made mine in a 9 inch instead of 8 inch springform pan because I did not have the latter. Therefore, my cake was a bit flatter than the one on the picture and took 28-30 minutes to bake. I will buy an 8 inch pan for my next batch. Thank you for sharing this wonderful cake. It is unbelievably so light. Next time, I may also add some lemon and/or lime and/ or orange zest. Also, if I use a 9 inch pan again, I may do 1 1/2 the recipe, that is 6 eggs etc. Thanks again!

    You're very welcome! I'm glad this recipe work out for you.

  7. I made your wonderful lightest ever sponge cake again but this time 1 1/2 the recipe using a 9 inch springform pan and chopped Oreo cookies lightly sprinkled with rum in lieu of the raisins. It was so delicious. I am an amateur baker and I have tried so many different cakes. I am not easy to please but let me tell you your cake is a revelation. It is so moist and light that it could pass for thiose cake mixes that are made light with the addition of things only available to companies. I plan on using your recipe for layer cakes too, without the raisins and cut in 2 layers etc. I may also try one day out of curiosity to replace the oil with the same quantity of neuter moisture or clarified butter. But regardless this is the bestest recipe. Thanks so much.

    You're very welcome!

  8. Correction to prior comments. I meant beurre Noisette or clarified butter.

  9. can i use butter instead of canola oil, if so how much butter should I use.


    I suggest that you still use canola oil instead of butter because this is a type of chiffon cake. The use of oil will make the cake airier and lighter than melted butter. If you insist on using butter (unsalted only), the amount should be the same as the oil after the butter is melted (let it cool down a bit before using); that said, I've never substitute it with butter so I can't say if it's gonna work that way. I hope you've good luck!

  10. Can I use castor sugar instead of granulated sugar?

    Yes, you can use it as a substitute for granulated sugar

  11. Maureen i tried with melted butter and it is indeed a miststake because it won't be light and airy. Don't ask me why not though! Same thing with the sugar. If you use brown sugar (assuming this is what you call castor), it won't be as light.