Sponge Cake History
Sponge Cakes are similar to Angel Food Cakes in that they use many eggs and no shortening or leavening. A traditional sponge cake is very easy to make as it consists of just three very basic ingredients: flour, sugar and eggs.
The key to making the perfect sponge cake is in the technique. The batter must be beaten thoroughly in order to create volume. Sponge Cakes use the whole eggs, while Angel Food Cakes use only the whites. Sponge cakes contain plenty of eggs, but little or no butter (although chiffon cakes contain a generous amount of oil).
1420 – 1520 – During the renaissance, Italian cooks became famous for their baking skills and were hired by households in both England and France. The new items that they introduced were called “biscuits,” though they were the forerunner of what we now consider to be sponge cake.
1615 – Gervase Markham (1568-1637), English poet and author, recorded the earliest sponge cake recipe in English in 1615. These sponge cakes were most likely thin, crisp cakes (more like modern cookies).
18th Century – By the middle of the 18th century, yeast had fallen into disuse as a raising agent for cakes in favor of beaten eggs. Once as much air as possible had been beaten in, the mixture would be poured into molds, often very elaborate creations, but sometimes as simple as two tin hoops, set on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. It is from these cake hoops that our modern cake pans developed.