Monday, 1 June 2015

Easy Sponge Cake Recipe - Tang Mian Method 烫面黄金海绵蛋糕


This recipe is a keeper! The cake is soft, cottony, light and not greasy. The texture is so fine it virtually melts in your mouth. After experimenting more than 6 recipes, I  found this recipe from NasiLemaklover and I am totally satisfied with this attempt. I am still reeling with excitement that I could get the texture so right. The texture is cotton-like and really moist. There is no secret ingredient here. It is more to getting the correct combination, temperature and technique. So don't fret if you did not get it right at first. You just need some adjusting, especially on oven temperatures.





Making that elusive perfect sponge has been a frustrating journey. I either have perfect tasting but cracked top sponge, or a very dense sponge, or major shrinkages on the sponge. Of course, if you could overlook those little flaws, it is already very tasty. But we are looking for that flawless cotton sponge aren't we? And the quest ended here with this easy sponge cake recipe.

What makes this sponge cake special is the use of "tang mian*" or roux method. This method is quite widely used in the East. The flour is cooked in fats first, defying conventional methods of sponge making. By doing this, the flour would be coated with fats and has no chance of contact with water. Unable to activate gluten, the cake is ultra soft. I have tried various recipes and I find this by far the most foolproof. I almost got it right the first time (almost because there need to be adjustments to oven temperatures to make it perfect). Contrary to the original recipe, my cake did shrink but only a little. I tried this on a 7" x 4" non-stick aluminium lined loaf pan as I do not have a 6" round baking pan. (UPDATE: use a normal baking pan for best results).

I declare this to be my new favourite and I would be experimenting more with this method . And if I could do this on first try, the chances are you would have nailed it! Happy baking!



Easy Sponge Cake Recipe - Tang Mian Method 烫面黄金海绵蛋糕

Adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover

Ingredients

Egg yolk mix

50 g butter
50 g cake flour (I used superfine flour)
3 large egg yolks
55 g milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (original recipe did not have this)

Egg white mix

3 large egg white
50 g castor sugar
6 g corn starch (advisable to replace with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar)

Cooking Instruction

1. Melt butter in a saucepan until it starts to bubble. Switch off fire and immediately add in flour. Quickly stir until combined. Transfer roux to a mixing bowl.


2. Add in milk and vanilla extract. Using a whisk, whisk until milk is combined. Then add egg yolks one by one whisking until fully combined each time.


3. Mix cornstarch and sugar together. In another mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in 1/3 of sugar and cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk. Gradually add in another 1/3 and repeat until all are added in. Whisk until soft peak. The meringue should form a hook when lifted (pix above).


4. Add 1/3 of meringue into egg yolk mixture. Mix with whisk (do not whisk) until combined. Repeat with another 1/3 until all are mixed in. Use a spatula and fold gently from bottom upwards in a circular motion. Yo will see yellowish egg yolks from the bottom. Mix until you don't see that anymore.


5 Lift mixture high and slowly pour batter into baking pan. This is to reduce the bubbles trapped in the batter. Drop the baking pan a few times to further release trapped bubbles.

6. Put pan on the lower rack and bake at a preheated oven at 140C for 25 minutes, then increasing the temperature to 160C for another 25 minutes. If your cake gets too brown on top, cover loosely with aluminium foil (the correct colour should be golden brown, mine was a little over). Test cake by pressing the top of the cake. The top should feel springy. Remove from oven when it is ready.

7. Invert pan on a piece of kitchen towel covering the cooling rack. This would prevent your cake from having lines later. Cool and remove tin.


Note:
1. In order for the sponge to successfully rise, there are a few pointers that are crucial:
   A. Mix quickly so that you would not lose trapped air in the meringue
   B. Do not overmix as this would release trapped air
   C. Make sure your equipment are grease-free

2. Do not use a non-stick pan to bake this cake. As my pan is non-stick, I lined it with aluminium foil. Yet, I find it best to stick with a non-lined normal baking tray.

*Tang mian basically means hot flour.




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