Nova Scotia Honey Orange Sponge Cake

Submitted by Judy on Sat, 09/22/2007 - 2:59pm.

From Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor
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Rosh HashanahRosh HashanahMy mother got this recipe from her friend Corinne in Nova Scotia. I remember visiting with them the summer before I turned fourteen, when I absolutely refused to go to sleep-away camp anymore. I traveled with my parents as they sang their way through the Catskills and Berkshires and then ferried up to Nova Scotia. The most memorable part of the trip for me was the arrival of Princess Margaret, who almost killed herself stepping out of her shoe as she exited the helicopter. For my mother, the most impressive moment was when Corinne sent her mother out into the yard to dig up potatoes for our dinner.

Through the years Corinne and my mom shared recipes before they lost touch (and if we could remember her last name, we’d tell you!). We’ve always loved this one, a lighter honey cake than the old standby, really a honey sponge. Serve thick slices with Aunt Sally’s Apricot Pineapple Sauce (recipe follows) and start a new tradition.

Parchment paper, for the pan
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup corn oil
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or brandy
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have ready a 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom. Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper cut slightly larger than the bottom. Press the extra paper against the sides of the pan.
2. Sift both flours and the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and salt together into a bowl. Set it aside.
3. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sugar.
4. Beat the egg yolks very well with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and continue blending until the mixture is thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and blend in the oil and honey. Then blend in the orange juice, liqueur, zest, and extract. Reduce the speed to low and gradually blend in the flour mixture.
5. Using a clean, dry bowl and beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the reserved 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Then raise the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 4 minutes total. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Then add the remaining egg whites in three additions, folding them in until incorporated.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared tube pan and bake on the center oven rack for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 300°F and continue baking until the top of the cake springs back when touched, about 45 minutes more.
7. Let the cake rest in the pan for 30 to 45 seconds. Then invert the pan on its little feet (if your tube pan has them) or over a soda bottle (making sure it sits level) and let the cake cool completely.
8. Run a knife around the center tube and the sides of the pan, and lift the tube from the outer pan. Gently slide the knife between the bottom of the cake and the pan, and lift the cake off the pan. Cut the cake into slices, and serve.

Serves 12

Photography: Jon Edwards
Food styling: Food Fanatics