- Set oven to 300 F.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites into two bowls. Using a whisk, mix the milk into the egg yolks.
- Heat up the oil until it’s simmering. Pour half into the flour, mix until incorporated, then pour in the other half of the oil. Let cool.
- Pour in half of the egg yolks and mix until incorporated. Then mix in the other half.
- Add a spritz of lemon juice to the egg whites to help them whip up. Start whipping the egg whites until it is uniformly frothy (about one minute), add a third of the sugar. Continue beating for another 30 seconds, then add another third of the sugar. Continue until all the sugar is incorporated, and the egg whites are in the soft peak stage.
- Using the whisk, fold a small amount of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated, then fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until uniform.
- Pour batter into cake pan(s), then place into the larger pan. Pour water into the larger pan for the water bath (water does not need to be level with the cakes – just an inch or so deep is fine).
- If using a 9”x13” pan, bake for 60-70 mins. If using smaller pans, start checking for doneness at about 35 mins. The top should be golden and the cake should be springy. While warm, slice into sections.
Chinese sponge cake is an amazing, pillowy cake/bread that would have already been a delight to consume purely for its texture. But then it has a delicious eggy aroma and taste that makes this seemingly plain confection that hardly deserves the name of "dessert" into a staple of every Chinese bakery I've ever walked into. It was just by chance that a friend posted this video describing how to make a version at home, and thankfully, because of the more precise method of measurement by weight, I was able to make both a full-sized and half-sized version with very little adaptation besides trying to guess how long the smaller versions cook.
How could I possible resist trying something calling itself "Magic Cake"? While the supposed "magic" is in how it separates itself into layers during the baking process and maintains a soft, moist center with an almost quiche-like crust, I think the real magic is in how easy it was to make and how quickly it disappeared - a 9" round disappeared in literally less than 24 hours. Twice.
I also made a "pie" version, where I pieced together some puff-pastry from the store and used it as a rough/rustic crust. This version was much more complicated in terms of timings and what needed to be done, but roughly:
This recipe is from the now-sadly closed Cypress B&B in Florida. A beautiful little cottage in a beautiful area, the hosts were gracious enough to give me their recipes for some of their most popular breakfast items, including the delicious glazed mango pecan muffins.
While this is called "The Puff", I liken it most to a crust-less quiche, and due to all the varieties of cheeses, stays fabulously moist in the center instead of becoming all baked-out egg. And due to the large quantity, is a great way to just get a bunch of breakfasts out of the way if you're looking forward to a busy week!
Also, I really, really hate soggy over-cooked veggies in my quiches. I've discovered that for certain veggies such as asparagus and cauliflower, what works great is the ice-bath after a blanching, which stops the cooking process in its tracks. I try to boil them to JUST the point before they're just-right, and then when they're in the oven, they take that last step so that there's still a little crunch left to the asparagus and the cauliflower isn't just mush when the quiche is done. Mushrooms I sometimes don't bother cooking at all - the oven takes care of them well enough.
Part of the reason I started baking was because I like my goodies to be less obviously sweet - I want to taste the flavor, not just the sugar. So most of these recipes will have the sugar dialed down.