Thank you David Jones for continuing to provide a classic and beautiful cake. The passionfruit sponge has featured as a menu item at David Jones’ cafeteria for more than thirty years.
Our inclusion of a passionfruit sponge is a salute to shopping experiences from a bygone era. Before food courts, take away coffee cups and plastic cutlery, before book store coffee shops and the Ikea refectory – there were grocery and department store cafeterias. Up until the late 1980s in Australia – Coles, Kmart, Myer, Grace Bros and David Jones all had their own versions of a cafeteria. The décor in the upmarket department stores may have been a little more refined than the basic cafeterias of Coles and Kmart – but the principle was the same. Keep the customer in the store for as long as possible, roll your cafeteria tray past the glass displays of hot and cold food, and pay a small dowager with permed hair and a pinnie at the cash register before finding a seat.
We have used a foam-method sponge (yes, it is a recipe ‘handed down’ through the family of one of our bakers). However, we have experimented with the use of low GI cane sugar and protein-enriched white flour to see if this altered the baking result. The recipe must be pretty good, because the outcome seemed to remain excellent, despite our attempts to play God by tampering with an old family recipe.
The quantities below can be used to produce many small or 1 standard size sponge, but in all cases the proportion of cream must be sufficient to cause an immediate cholesterol-induced heart attack on sight.
3 eggs (average to large sized eggs seem to work best)
1 cup low GI golden caster sugar
1 cup SR flour
1 dessertspoon of butter or margarine, dissolved in a third of a coffee cup of boiling water
1 cup icing sugar
1 passionfruit (2 if liquid not sufficient)
1 teaspoon butter
(The quantities may need to change, with seasonal variation of fruit. Just add more icing sugar if the mix is too runny, or more passionfruit or a dash of water if mix is too thick).
1-2 cups thickened cream (cake can be eaten without)
Preheat oven to 180C. Use an electric mixer for the first stage, otherwise prepare yourself for a workout. Beat eggs and sugar in bowl for c. 15 minutes until pale in colour and very fluffy (mix should expand in size).
Add flour, sifted, fold in carefully. Add butter and water mix in last. Mix very lightly, and mixture should start to get a foamy texture. Put in buttered tins (long, round or patty cakes all work well). Bake c. 20 mins for larger cakes (less time for patty cakes). This mix is sufficient to fill one standard sized round cake pan c.18cm diameter. We used 4 mini-spring form pans (10cm diameter) and this accommodated all of the mix perfectly.
While cake is booking, make icing. Beat all icing ingredients together until smooth. In separate bowl, beat cream until thick (be careful not to overbeat until it looks like butter). Put cream and icing in fridge until cake is completely cool.
To assemble, cut cake in middle and fill with thick band of cream (eg 2 cm thick or more) and put small quantity of passionfruit icing on top. Or, for a tower, stack cakes on top. It is traditional not to ice the sides.
(L – David Jones R – littlebaking)