Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Oh Alex Goh! : Chocolate Sponge Cake

HAPPY NEW YEAR! So, what did you do last evening? Attended the countdown? Watched fireworks? Dinner with loved ones? I'm sure you did.

Me? By 9pm I was dead to the world. I am quite certain there were fireworks display at the two malls near my home but I slept through it all and woke up at 4am this morning and yeah, happy new year indeed.

This year, I want to challenge myself with more baking experiences. And if I have any failures, I will document it and we shall all laugh at it together.

And today, for a start, sponge cake! A cake that you will need to make all sorts of layered and iced cakes. All those fancy pretty cakes that you see in bakeries, those are mostly sponge cake based and they come in all sorts of flavors and toppings.

I bake mostly very basic cakes. Butter cakes, chocolate cakes, cheesecakes and the occasional cotton or chiffon cake. Seldom do you see me do cakes with layers or icings. Becoz.... (1) I have no talent for such fussy cakes, (2) I am too lazy to go through all that trouble and (3) I have a fear of baking sponge cakes.

I have baked sponge cakes before as they are the precursor for cakes like (gasp!) Tiramisu Cake and Peanut Butter Banana Cake

I observed that there are two methods of making sponge cake - first method is where the flour and oil is mixed into the egg yolk batter and then folded into the egg white batter and the second is where the flour and oil are folded in only after the egg yolk and egg white batter have been combined.

Which is more difficult? The second one of course. This is the method used in Alex's Goh's Baking Code. I have no issues when folding the beaten egg whites and the egg yolks batter but when the flour is added - oh dear God, everything becomes clumpy and I get a panic attack. That's not the end of it because after that you have to pour in the oil and attempt to fold it into the clumpy batter. Scary stuff, this.

Defective sides.
I wanted to conquer my fear of sponge cakes. In particular Alex Goh's method. So I waited for a weekend when my partner was away (so that I could start my day earlier) and worked on this chocolate sponge cake. 

While folding the flour into the batter, I feared that the batter deflated from all that mixing and when oil was poured in, more mixing was involved and I expected my cake to be a flop. 

Surprisingly, the cake rose all the way to the rim of the pan and when it came out of the oven, I gave it a few thumps on the dining table. Miraculously, there was minimal shrinkage. But it was not a perfect sponge cake. It had cracks on the surface and lots of big pores.

But it was soft and spongy enough and I would say that it is not that terrible an attempt. All I need is more practice. The cake that you see had its bottom trimmed off to make another cake, which we shall see later.

Chocolate Sponge Cake
Recipe source : Alex Goh's Baking Code (page 10)
Note : The amount of ingredients is meant for a 9" pan but I used an 8" pan and got me a taller cake.

Ingredients A :
- 5 egg yolks
- 20 caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients B : 
- 5 egg whites
- 120g sugar

Ingredients C (sifted together and whisked to combine) :
- 90g plain flour
- 20g cocoa powder

Ingredient D :
- 60ml vegetable oil

Method :
1. Grease and line the bottom of an 8" round cake pan. Set aside.

2. Work on ingredients A first.
- Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Set aside.

3. Next work on ingredients B.
- Using a hand held mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks.

4. Pour ingredient A into ingredient B and fold either using a spatula or your bare hand until combined.

5. Sift ingredients C into the batter and continue to fold until all ingredients C is used up.

6. Lastly pour ingredient D into the batter and fold until combined.

7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake at 160C for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.

8. Take the cake out of the oven and drop it from a height onto work to three times to minimize shrinkage.

9. Cool the cake for about 15 minutes and remove from the pan to cool completely.


  1. Sighhhhhhh!!!! I had to drive through that horrendous Pan-Borneo Highway to send my girl back to her school in the jungle, did the spring cleaning in her quarters...and drove all the way home, so tired, slept early around 8...like a log till dawn. Not much of a New Year celebration, eh? I wouldn't mind having that cake you yours...at least that would be some consolation.

    1. You are such a loving and dedicated papa! A new year eve well spent I would say. At least you got some exercise LOL!

  2. Happy New Year, PH!
    That's a scrumptious looking cake.

  3. I had dinner with my buddy and watched fireworks. Butter banana cake for me!

    1. Very nice celebration you had. Not like me, sleep like a pig LOL!

  4. Happy New Year to you, PH!

    Lovely cake. I would love a slice.

  5. Happy New Year, Phong Hong. Since you're going to challenge yourself to more baking experiences this year, I suppose your dieting will have to to take a back seat then...kekeke! ;) Your sponge cake...what cracks?...what big pores?...you call those cracks? I don't see any. I like to eat plain sponge cakes...and here's to more sponge cakes!
    P/S: Have you finally decided to show your pageviews? ^_~ I've not noticed it before. Well, congrats on surpassing 3 million views (better than my paltry 1 million)! Also, did you decide to do away with your LinkWithin? I had that in my blog too but one day it just disappeared. I tried to activate it again but it just wouldn't work. :'(

    1. Happy New Year, Kris! Ah, you flatter me! You are right, baking is not a good hobby. When you bake, you eat, even if it is for giving away, you still need to taste heh..heh... Yes, I decided to put up my pageviews. Eh, 1 million is an achievement, let's not compare as our audience is different. My LinkWithin was inadvertently removed a while back and I cannot get it working again. From what I read, it does not work anymore.

  6. Happy New Year PH!

    I like the spirit that you have. Keep it up dear. As for me, baking is not my cup of tea :(

    1. Happy New Year, Puan Hazel. Never mind lah, we all have different interests.

  7. Yes, I enjoy your baking experiences, both the good and the bad. Most people will only share the good ones. Your sponge cake looks good. I am too lazy to attempt baking now.

  8. Hi Phong Hong,
    Happy New Year to you & to your family.
    Im looking forward to see all your lovely posts with your humorous texts ...
    Have a great year ahead 😘

    1. Happy New Year, Mel! I am looking forwards to trying some of your recipes :)

  9. Happy New Year to you! Yesterday I slept at 11 pm. Not perfect to you but perfect to me and looks so tasty too. I wanna eat cake now so how?

    1. Happy New Year! Well, you either bake it or buy it. LOL!

  10. Beautiful cake Phong Hong. Happy New Year to you too.