Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Trifle Spongy


I have known my friend Cookie since our first day of college in 1991. She was a fresh transplant from the real OC, and I had come from the bay area. I didn’t think much of her at first, mainly because I was trained as a bay area girl to strongly dislike anyone and anything coming from the LA area of California, because LA gave the rest of California a bad name (still does).

We lived in this pseudo-hippie, pseudo-anarchist dorm call Metanoia. At least, for the mostly conservative campus of Willamette, we were all pseudo-hippie-anarchist-commie-pinko-scum. Metanoia was a smaller dorm (two floors with about 17 people per floor) located in what used to be a frat house. The fraternity had been kicked off campus a year or two earlier for accusations of gang rape and whatnot. The frat houses were clustered at the ends of the two large, general dorms on the east side of campus, and the frat boys hated us. I mean, HATED US.

I think living amongst such animosity drew out little clan tighter together in some respects. We Metanoian freshmen had spent a long evening together on the first night sharing stories and bonding, and when the rest of the house moved in a day or two later most people were very welcoming and accepting. I met some of my closest friends that first night, and crazy OC Cookie is one of them.

Fast forward to present day: Cookie is making Christmas dinner for her family and has decided to make a fabulous trifle for dessert. She needs a couple rounds of sponge cake, and instead of buying them, or baking them herself, she asked me to do it.

Of course I’d do it—it’s baking! Plus, she bribed me with pizza and beer. Which when I got to her house, included a CostCo hot dog. A win-win situation for everybody.

Cookie got married last year and one of her wedding gifts was a lovely red KitchenAid mixer. She keeps it in the box in her pantry. The first time she used it was last December when Joelf, Cookie, and I made cookies. This was the second time she used it.

Her red KitchenAid purrs like a kitten. Mine has been around the block a bit and I use the hell out of it—not that she’s faltering in any way but she is a lot noisier than Cookie’s Red. A pleasure to work with.

little red kitchenaid
sweet Red

December 20, 2006
Name of cake: Trifley Sponge Cake
Occasion: Cookie’s Making a Trifle
Constituents: one recipe Biscuit Roulade, baked in a sheet pan

how do you pronounce that?
it's not "BisKit", its "BeeskWee"

For her sponge cake, I chose to make the Biscuit Roulade because you bake it up in a sheet pan, and cut out your rounds afterwards. It turns out a super light, fluffy, golden cake that is about ¾ to 1 inch tall and dissolves in your mouth. It would make a great jelly roll-type cake.

This cake is all egg and sweetness. There is only about 200 grams of flour and a tiny bit of cornstarch, plus four eggs and one extra egg yolk. There is about twice as much sugar as there is flour, and a little bit of vanilla for flavor. No butter, no oil, no fat.

so puffy

RLB says this cake will either need to be encased in moist stuff like Bavarian cream, whipping cream, or the like or else you need to moisten it with a sugar syrup. I think Cookie is going to do both. She wants to spike it with dark rum.

The cake comes together pretty easily, but like all European-type sponge cake you either need two bowls for your mixer or else a hand-held beater as well. Or, you could do what I’ve been doing all these years which is to beat up the yolks and fold in the flour, transfer the mixture to another bowl, wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk attachment, reuse the bowl and whisk to whip up the egg whites and sugar, and fold into the yolk mixture standing in the wings. I wonder if I am messing with the batter too much and deflating it more than necessary with all my transfers and whatnot. I probably am, but so far the sponge cakes I’ve made seem to have been okay. It's just a pain in the hoohah.

I tried to get Cookie involved in helping with the cake by asking her to separate two eggs. I forgot that she has a slimy issue and usually wears latex gloves when dealing with anything that could be slimy, like raw meat and eggs. Cookie delegated the egg separating task to her husband, Jeremy. Who did a fabulous job. Thanks, Jeremy!

gloves, rum, diet coke
gloves, rum, diet coke, and Cookie

The cake bakes in a 450 oven for 7 minutes, or until springy and golden brown. Our cake smelled delicious, just like a yellow cake would. We wanted to break out some chocolate chip whipped cream and spread it thick over the cake, roll it up, and eat it with some vanilla ice cream. Or—maybe that was just me.

I instructed her to report back on the trifle, and to take some pictures of it. Here’s to wishing her great success!

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