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.