Growing up, I always remembered my mom baking up a storm during Christmas time. Christmas cookies were never really a staple, but cake definitely was. She would also make delicious beverages like mauby, sorrel, and ginger beer. There was one cake in particular that was my favorite; sponge cake (which is not actually a sponge cake, but rather a pound cake). Anyhow, yesterday we had a gathering at the house and it definitely gave us a reason to start our Christmas baking! We decided to make two types of what Guyanese people call "Christmas" cake. Read on to find out more!
My brother decorated our tree this year, there were so many pretty ornaments,
this is one of my favs.
Christmas cake is usually a sponge cake, fruit cake, or black cake. We made sponge cake and fruit cake (which will be my next post). These are called "Christmas" cakes because it is during the Christmas holiday that these cakes are typically made and given away to family and friends.
Today's post is all about the sponge cake. In my research I have discovered that the sponge cake is really a pound cake and all this time, Guyanese have been terming this cake something that it is not. This article by a fellow blogger, Cynthia Nelson will explain it all to you, click here to read more. Cynthia discusses what makes a sponge cake a sponge cake and what makes a pound cake a pound cake. It all has to do with the egg to flour ratio. In a sponge cake, there is more egg than flour which allows it to have a very foamy, springy texture (think of angel cake here). A pound cake has heavy fat content that comes from the butter, making it a pound cake, not a sponge cake.
This is where my mom got the recipe. It is an old Guyanese cookbook from 1973. If I remember correctly, the book is called "What's cooking in Guyana." I even tried to look online to see if it is still being published and I couldn't come up with anything! She's had this cookbook for years, the cover didn't stand a chance at survival. I've taken some pictures for you, just in case you are curious...
Who would've thought of advertising in a cookbook?
Whisk the eggs separately and add a little at a time to the creamed mixture. I used 1/2 lemon and orange zest, but start with 1/4 tsp each to suit your taste. Too must zest can overpower the flavors in a cake.
add 1 1/2 cups of flour, alternating with the milk
We ended up making more of this cake later in the day since we had to stuff so many treat bags, but I started with a smaller batch for this post. You can double up on the recipe if you want to make enough to fit a 9X13in pan. The batch I made fit a 9in round pan perfectly.
Christmas Sponge Cake
Serving: one 9 in round or square panIngredients:
- 8oz salted butter/ 2 sticks (not margarine)
- 1 cup light brown sugar or white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 lemon zest (I used 1/2)
- 1/4 orange zest (I used 1/2)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you mix the batter.
- Sift all dry ingredients together.
- Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and light.
- Add eggs a little at a time.
- Add lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla.
- Add a little bit of flour and mix into wet ingredients. Add a little milk and keep alternating flour and milk until it is all incorporated.
- Butter and flour your pan and pour prepared mixture into pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
- Let cake cool before turning it onto a cake platter.
- Bring butter, eggs, and milk to room temperature.
- The reason you cannot add all the milk at once is because it will separate the creamed mixture you just created. So add a little flour mixture then milk then flour and so on. Stick your spoon or spatula in the center of the batter to see if it stands up. If it does, then your batter is ready, if it does not, then add a little more flour.
- Everyone's oven temperature varies, so after 30 minutes, check your cake with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. If there is still batter on the toothpick then leave the cake in for an additional 10 minutes.
I bought these packaging items from Walmart for a total of $11, they were enough for 30 people
This was the 9X13 pan of sponge cake being cut up to put into the bags
Fruit cake, all wrapped up and ready to be bagged!
into the bag...
I thought it was a cute idea to attach an ornament to the treat bags, so people could
hang them on their x-mas tree when they got home
Up next: Guyanese Fruitcake!