Remembering Mom: Sponge Cake

Recently, my daughter Elizabeth asked me if I had Grandma Loretta’s recipes for her angel food and sponge cakes. This gave me reason to look through my mother’s recipe box. I can’t help but think of my mother when ever I do.

My mother passed away in 2008 three days before my 46th birthday. After her death, I really only wanted two things: her 30+ year-old KitchenAid mixer and her recipe box. This box is a big connection to her for me. She is a big reason why I cook. Memories of fantastic meals and my mother’s exploits in the kitchen flood over me whenever I look at these hand-written cards. She was a fantastic woman and a great mother. I miss her dearly.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when Elizabeth called asking for the recipes. My mother’s sponge cake was my absolute favorite. Every year for my birthday I would request a sponge cake; plain, no icing. She always obliged. Luckily, my sister Michele’s favorite cake was angel food. My mother would simply freeze the egg whites from making my cake and use them a month and a half later to make her birthday cake.

Here is my mother’s recipe. My birthday is September 15th. I turn 50. If anyone would like to make this cake for me, I won’t stop you. No icing please!


3 C sifted cake flour
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
10 to 12 egg yolks
2 C sugar
1 C cold water
1 t. vanilla
½ t. lemon extract


Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt together three times. Beat egg yolks in large bowl of mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Turn to low speed and beat in cold water, vanilla, and lemon extract. Then sprinkle in flour mixture quickly but not all at once. Beat only until blended.  Pour into 10” diameter, deep angel food tube pan. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.


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