Old Fashioned Sponge Cake

Posted by Rusty LaGrange on September 4, 2018

Cookbooks are nearly as valuable and cherished as Bibles in some homes. This made me recall all the kitchen chatter and special moments growing up in a kitchen of the 60s. Betty Crocker was on the shelf along with my mom’s time-worn recipes from her early years as a young mom and house wife.

I came across a food writer years ago who is also a chicken rancher. She plans her meals around old favorites that uses plenty of eggs. Her name is Meredith Chilson of Western New York. She recalls the chilly winters and finding a good reason to warm up the kitchen with a bit of baking time.

“Sponge cake is a yummy way to make use of a few extra eggs,” says Meredith. “It’s been a while since I made one, and I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to take photos as I go along, but … here we go.”

The Recipe is Fairly Simple

I don’t remember making any sponge cake like hers but I do remember eating it. Melt in your mouth memories. Remember that these measurements weren’t as exact as today. Most “cookbooks” were just collections of notes keep in a box or drawer.



1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup cold water

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
½ teaspoon cream of tartar


Betty’s recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, if desired, but I didn’t add it.

First, heat your oven to 325 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Separate the egg yolks and whites. (Have you noticed that with very fresh eggs, this is sometimes difficult?) I’ve also heard that pioneer eggs were much richer and larger.

Beat the egg yolks in a small mixer bowl until they are very thick and lemon-colored.

The hand mixer and eggs

We never had an electric beater. Just old-fashioned manual beaters.

Pour the beaten yolks into a large bowl and beat in the sugar gradually.

Beat the dry ingredients in slowly, on low speed, alternately with the water and flavorings.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually and gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten whites.

Pour all this carefully into an ungreased tube pan, and bake about an hour.

Tube Cake form or spring form — it all tastes like heaven

Turn the pan upside down with the tube over the neck of a funnel or bottle, cool. Remove from the pan and be ready for appreciative murmurs. Meredith explains its history: ” My family likes this sponge cake just plain, with maybe a glass of milk … but it’s also great with a fruit sauce, using berries frozen from last summer!”

Uummmmm… I can taste it from here.


Rusty LaGrange

(photo credits: Creative Commons from www.pexels.com)