Thursday, August 22, 2013

Celebrate National Sponge Cake Day August 23 at Delightful Pastries

One might ask who thinks of these crazy food holidays but for fans of sponge cake, August 23 is cause to celebrate. Sponge cake is the perfect dessert to enjoy at the end of a warm summer day. It is light and fluffy and has just enough sweetness to cleanse the palate after a meal.

While traditional sponge cake recipes call for three very basic ingredients: sugar, eggs, and flour, perfecting the sponge cake is more difficult than one may imagine. According to Dobra Bielinsky, chef/partner of Chicago's Delightful Pastries, the key to the perfect sponge cake is in the technique. "The batter must be beaten thoroughly in order to create volume," she says.

Did you know that sponge cake is actually one of the oldest and simplest forms of cake? Recipes for it date back as far as 1615. Variations on the theme of a cake lifted, partially or wholly, by trapped air in the batter exist in most places where European patisserie has spread, including the French Génoise, the Portuguese pão-de-ló, the Anglo-Jewish "plava" and the possibly ancestral Italian pan di Spagna ("Spanish bread").

 Our favorite at Delightful Pastries is the Berry Decadent Sponge Cake ($5.25/slice; $42/8 inch, serving up to 12 people) - deliciously moist, tender, spongy, open-grained cake topped with butter cream and berries.

To celebrate National Sponge Cake Day, stop by one of their three locations to enjoy a slice or take on home to share with the family. Delightful Pastries is located at the Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton Ave., Chicago; 312-234-9644), Old Town (1710 N. Wells St., Chicago; 312-255-0724), or Jefferson Park (5927 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago; 773-545-7215).

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