April was a rather full month, so I only managed two recipes from the Sponge Cakes and Tea cakes chapter.  I have to confess, these weren’t particularly challenging recipes, and they were well within my comfort range, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed that I didn’t do more out of this chapter.

The biggest challenge with sponge cake is figuring out what you’re going to do with it once you have one.  They aren’t earth-shattering on their own, but can be quite tasty if you do the right thing with them.  So the trick is taking this:

That’s powdered sugar, not flour. Also, I hate silicon baking trays.

And then doing something interesting with it.

We had frozen blueberries in the freezer.  This led to sponge cake with blueberry goo.  I just dumped frozen blueberries in a pot, added some sugar, a bit of lemon juice and a dash of salt, and viola, goo.

Whipped cream wouldn’t have gone amiss here, either, but I was lazy and busy.

The tea cakes are more self-sufficient in their tasty.  I chose the Soft Gingerbread Cake, in part because it looked tasty, and in bigger part because the placement of the recipe on the page made it easy to take a picture of it.  Then I used the picture of the recipe to make the cake while I was in Richmond preparing for my sister’s wedding.

The lesson from this month was one I’d already learned while cooking for my sister’s bridal shower, but I wasn’t taking pictures then.  It is this: I miss my kitchen when I’m cooking in somebody else’s.

I gathered all of the ingredients and portioned them ahead of time.  This was in part to make sure I didn’t go scrambling for something only to fail at finding it during a critical juncture, but also to make sure I had what I needed, and that it was actually what I wanted and not some obscene pretender.  This is a kitchen where the first two things of salt I grabbed proudly proclaimed that they contained no salt.  Apparently imitation salt is a thing?  I was disturbed, and horrified, and then organized all of my ingredients ahead of time.  (The yellow bowl is melted butter, not oil.  The eggs are in water to warm them up to room temperature.)

The other thing I learned this trip was that hand mixers are, in fact, somewhat simpler and easier than a standing mixer when you’re just blending a bunch of ingredients together as opposed to, say, waging war against zombie bread dough.  That said, I’d rather have an immersion blender, which I wound up wanting twice while away.  (I only cooked three times.  I don’t even use our immersion blender that much at home)  You can have both things, unless your kitchen is mine and there’s a (badly enforced) ban on buying more kitchen appliances.

These action shots aren’t so actiony because there’s not much action to show.  You throw things in a bowl.  You mix them up.  You throw that into a pan.  Bam, cake!

It was tasty.  When it got put out, all of it was consumed by various house guests.  If I were to make it again I’d double or treble the amount of ginger in the recipe.  Otherwise, I’d just opt for the family traditional applesauce cake from Joy of Cooking which is, in my opinion, a better cake of this intensity.

I am, shockingly, now caught up on food blogging.  Which means that we’re halfway through May and I haven’t yet done the first of the decorated cakes.  Oops.  Never fear, I have plans for tomorrow!  And someday, you’ll hear about how they went.

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