I have only attempted to make a sponge cake once before and, let's just say that it wasn't a raging success. I don't have that 'lightness of hand' that is so necessary for fluffy sponges and it took many many many attempts before I mastered the art of scones. I don't think it helped much that a certain eldest offspring of mine was determined to "help stir" the sponge mixture and his hand is most definitely not light LOL.
So it was with some trepidation that I approached this recipe. I'd torn it from a magazine half planning to make it and half dreaming that it might magically spring from the page ready-made. I finally worked up the courage and decided to take it for dessert to a bbq with friends. Oh my, this is simply wonderful.
The sponge was so fluffy and light - everything you could want in a sponge. It wasn't difficult to make and the couple of extra steps added so much to the end result that it was well worth the effort. I have to say that, while it was lovely for dessert, it really came into it's own the next day (we all ended up with a little bit of the leftovers) when the flavour of the filling had worked through the cake. This is a delightfully delicious addition to my repertoire and I'll be trotting it out again, I just have to work out when.
Mascarpone and Fig Sponge
(Pan di Spagna con Fichi e Mascarpone)
Australian Table, July 2006
5 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1 cup fig jam
500g mascarpone, at room temperature
2 tablespoon icing sugar, plus extra icing sugar to dust
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and lightly flour a 24cm springform pan.
2. Using an electric beater, beat egg yolks and half of the caster sugar for 5 minutes, until pale and thick. Gently fold twice-sifted flour and cornflour through yolk mixture.
3. Using an electric beater, beat eggwhites until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until thick and glossy. Fold into yolk mixture. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool.
4. To make Mascarpone Filling, beat eggwhites using an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Gently fold mascarpone and icing sugar through eggwhites. Using a serrated brad knife, cut cake into three layers. Spread half of jam over base and top with half of Mascarpone filling. Repeat layers once more, finishing with top of cake. Dust with extra icing sugar before serving.