Darlings, I excitedly present Fannie Merritt Farmer’s recipe for GENUINE Sponge Cake – a flavour from the ‘old school’ - well, in this case, The Boston Cooking-School, Massachusetts, USA!
I say, Miss Merritt Farmer is an American culinary goddess from yesteryear, known as an advocate of ‘scientific’ cookery and household management. Thus, following her graduation in 1889 from The Boston Cooking-School, she served as assistant director and teacher; becoming school principal during the 1890's.
Around such time, she re-wrote Mary J. Lincoln’s book – The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. And luckily whilst flicking through my treasured 1909 edition, I discovered this teatime favourite and wonderful addition to any afternoon tea pageantry of goodies!
Fannie’s cake is prepared with many eggs, little flour, sugar, lemon juice, and without the aid of a raising agent – “But, what makes a sponge cake rise?”, you utter! Well, according to Fannie’s easy to comprehend, scientific explanation, 'Is made light by the quantity of air beaten into both yolks and whites of eggs, and the expansion of that air in baking!' - Oh, thank you dear Fannie!
Baked in a slow oven using two vintage sandwich tins, although Fannie suggests to bake her Genuine Sponge Cake in an angel cake pan or a deep narrow pan. Nevertheless, they turned out just perfect – light, fluffy and pillowy soft!
The perfect foundation for Miss Windsor’s finishing touch – to be sandwiched together with a glossy slather of Tiptree Strawberry Conserve (by Wilkin & Sons Ltd) sliced fresh strawberries, whipped cream, then a light dusting of icing sugar – voila!
However, I must divulge Fannie's original recipe required, in fact, some kind of sweet lubrication - Oh, I say! You see, darlings, I found it exceedingly spongey and bit too light, which made me choke a little - so evidently I sought to find a remedy!
I say, luckily I stumbled upon her recipe for Washington Pie. And so I immediately followed suit and added a layer of strawberry conserve to Fannie's sponge cake, which I must add was the perfect tonic for a smooth passage along my greedy gullet! Oh, and of course, I added the rest of the finery which one may observe from my photography skills.
Darlings, and by the way, I do hope you noticed my arty recipe collaboration with the frightfully talented Cathy's Art Palace (Twitter: @CathysArtPalace) who joined creative forces with Miss Windsor and magically turned one of her photographs into a rather spiffing work of art!
Preparation time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Serves 6-8 delightful guests!
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