I am in mourning. I want to know what happened to a magnificent Australian institution. Well it was when I was growing up. I’m talking about the mighty sponge cake. You know the one I mean. It’s so light and fluffy it floats on air filled full of fresh cream and passionfruit and dusted in icing sugar. It gets my lips smacking just thinking about it. Where has it gone? You can’t get it anywhere these days for love or money.
Well you can if you look really hard. It’s now the exclusive domain of that secret society of female brethren….the country women’s association who perfected the art of the sponge cake as well as scones, jam and cream.
Making the perfect sponge is a gastronomique challenge if ever there was one.
The margin of error between triumph and catastrophe is so small it doesn’t bear thinking about. Get it right and you’ll put a smile on the face of even someone with the sourest of temperaments. Get it wrong and all you’ve created is a cream filled frisbee. That reminds me. I must get my hands on the much coveted Country Women’s recipe book.
But the fact is the sponge cake seems destined to only get star billing at once a year venues like the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Why should we have to wait a year just to get a slice of airy fairy delight I ask?
I blame TV cooking shows like Master Chef and so called patissiers like Adriano Zumbo and his macarons. It’s all French merde if you ask me. He’s driven the sponge cake away. Too old fashioned. Not trendy enough. Well to hell with it.
History reserves a place for the kinds of things that remain true to self. You only have to look at the worldwide cupcake revival. Now there’s a little institution if ever there was one and people are loving them. We’re awash with cupcakes.
But I really do think it’s about time we all stood up for the humble sponge and returned it to its rightful place front and centre among all of the other afternoon tea comestibles. And you can add lamingtons, custard tarts and cream buns while you are at it.