The sponge cake recipe and the chiffon cake recipe are both cakes that use a lot of eggs and are of the same family. Quite often you will find a sponge cake listed as chiffon and the chiffon listed as a sponge. Many people have a problem distinguishing between the two cakes.
The differences in the two cakes are few but major in the end result. The sponge cake recipe has no shortening and generally no leavening agents. The chiffon cake recipe has both shortening and leavening. Although light like the sponge cake recipe, it is moister due to the shortening.
There are also two forms of the sponge cake recipe. The one I am talking about here is a meringue type; that is with stiffly beaten egg whites folded in to make it extremely light and airy. The other one or batter type uses the eggs, both the whites and yolks together. Although the eggs are well beaten you do not achieve the airiness when the whites are beaten separately and folded in.
The sponge cake is thought to be the oldest of the non yeast cakes made. If looking through old cook books, you can find them dating back to the sixteen hundreds. Below you can read one of my old recipes.
The quality of a good sponge cake is the light airy texture. This is achieved by the beating methods used. The egg yolks and sugar are usually beaten until light and creamy. After the flour and other ingredients (besides the egg whites) are beaten until smooth, the stiffly beaten egg whites are folded gently into the batter, just until blended. Both cakes achieve its lightness from the stiffly beaten whites of the eggs.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar, salt, cream of tartar and honey while still beating. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Beat the yolks in a separate bowl. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until thick and light in color.
Gently fold yolk mixture into the whites. Fold in the rind, flour and vanilla. Turn into an ungreased tube cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert cake to cool.
Like the sponge cake the chiffon cake has many eggs.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. In another bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil, egg yolks, water, milk, vanilla and lemon rind. Beat until smooth and well blended. Pour egg yolk mixture gradually over the whites and gently fold in until blended. Pour into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert cake pan to cool.
Notice how this recipe is written; it is typical of many old time recipes.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Beat yolks and sugar until smooth and light.
Add beaten whites alternating with flour mixture.
Add flavoring; bake at 350F degrees for 45 minutes.
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