The sun is staying up longer, birds are chirping and we can be outside without a huge winter coat. That only means one thing. Spring is right around the corner! What represents spring better than raspberry and lemon? Not much. That's why when I wanted to celebrate surviving another long winter, I decided to make these easy no-bake lemon raspberry cheesecake bars.
So, I was sitting there on my lunchtime, at work and I noticed that this Wednesday was national sponge cake day. Yes, there is such a thing. In fact, there are many national food "holidays." Who knew? Not wanting to be a Grinch, I decided to go with it. So to honor the holidays, I thought, I'd share a great chiffon recipe, I received from our C.M.P.C (Certified Master Pastry Chef) at school. Chiffon sponge cakes are known for being less sweet than the butter based cakes. They are also, of course, spongier and lighter. This is due to having a meringue incorporated into the batter. Fruit and whipped cream are the perfect complements for this light and fluffy cake and though it is a little bit of extra work, it's well worth it. Taste it and you'll agree.
We will be making a meringue, so it's important to have room temperature eggs.
Start out with some hot water. Sift in some good cocoa powder. The cocoa is the only thing that will provide the chocolate flavor in this cake, so use good quality cocoa, because you will be able to taste it. Whisk in the cocoa until well combined.
Add in the egg yolks and oil and whisk well. Add in the vanilla and whisk well.
Sift together your dry ingredients, including the sugar. Dump it into the wet ingredients and fold in carefully.
Whisk for a smooth batter.
With your mixer and whip attachment, begin whipping the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until tracks begin to form. Gradually add in the sugar and turn it up to high until stiff, moist peaks form.
Gently fold in the meringue all at once.
Wipe the cake pans with a very damp towel. You should see the water streaks on the pan clearly. Pour in the batter in the pans. Spin the pans to let the air out.
Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
Once out of the oven, flip the pans on a sheet pan and cool upside down until completely cooled.
If you're making a whipped cream and fruit layer cake, prepare your whipped cream and fruit while the cakes are cooling. Unmold by running a sharp paring knife around the edges and tapping the pan on the counter hard.
Top with whipped cream and fruit or any way you'd like and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- ½ cup very hot water
- 10 oz cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup vegetable or salad oil
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ egg yolks
- 4 oz cake flour
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 10.63 grams baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ¾ cup egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 oz granulate sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large moon bowl, sieve the sifted cocoa into the very hot water.
Add the rest of the wet ingredients from the second set of ingredients.
Whisk until smooth.
Sift together the dry ingredients from the third set of ingredients and add them to the wet ingredients in the bowl. Fold in until mostly absorbed, then switch to whisk for a smooth batter.
Begin whipping the whites and cream of tartar in an 8 quart mixer, ideally, on medium speed. When you see tracks form and the whites are ¾ whipped, add the granulated sugar gradually.
Finish whipping the whites on high speed until you get firm, moist peaks.
Fold the meringue all at once into the batter until a uniform color is achieved. Take your time and be gentle not to deflate the meringue.
Pour the batter equally into two 8" cake pans that have been wiped out with a very damp cloth. Wet streaks should be visible.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Immediately out of the oven, turn the pans upside down on a sheet pan and let them cool completely that way.
Un-mold and enjoy!