- Set oven to 300 F.
- Separate the eggs. Put yolks into a smaller bowl and egg whites into a large bowl.
- Using a whisk, mix the milk into the egg yolks.
- Heat up the oil - either 2 minutes in the microwave or until it's simmering on the stovetop. In a small bowl, pour half of the oil into the flour, whisk until incorporated, then pour in the other half of the oil and continue whisking until smooth.
- Pour half of the egg yolks into the flour-oil mix and whisk until incorporated. Then whisk in the other half. Mixture might appear lumpy - that's okay, just make sure it is as evenly mixed as possible.
- Add a spritz of lemon juice to the egg whites to help them whip up. Start whipping the egg whites at medium until it is uniformly frothy (about one minute). Then, at med-high speed, add a third of the sugar. Continue beating until nearly the soft-peak stage, then gradually add another third of the sugar. Repeat until all the sugar is incorporated, then continue beating until the egg whites are at the soft-peak stage.
- Using the whisk, scoop a bit of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and mix gently until fully incorporated. Then fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until uniform.
- Pour batter into cake pan(s). If using a water bath, place into the larger pan and add water - just about an inch or so deep is fine. If using the cake strips, make sure the strips have been submerged in water for at least three minutes, squeeze out the excess water, then wrap them around the cake pan.
- Bake until the top is golden. If using a 9”x14” pan, this should take about 50-60 mins. If using smaller pans, start checking for doneness at about 30 mins. 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.
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.