Yesterday I wrote a post in Estonian about biskviit, which in English is sponge or sponge cake. Biskviit is quite popular in Estonia, used to make a rolled cake or as a layer of a bigger torte. I’ve never particularly liked it. It always struck me as somewhat dry and bland. The light, spongy texture is also unpleasant to me. It serves as a vehicle for a tasty filling, but shouldn’t a cake taste good on its own too?
The other week J asked me to bake something with kohupiim, or curd cheese, and suggested I make a rolled cake. I agreed. It was worth a shot– maybe I’d actually like fresh homemade sponge cake.
The recipe for the batter was sort of odd. I’ve never put that much potato starch in anything before– 50 g of that and 50 of flour. There was also nothing to flavor the batter– it was simply 4 eggs, sugar, starch, flour, and baking powder. I made the executive decision to throw in some vanilla extract. It needed it. In hindsight, I should’ve added a bit of salt too. I always taste the batter or dough when I’m making, and this time was no exception. It tasted like marshmallows. SO sweet. Blech.
After seven minutes in the oven, it was nice and golden on top. While it cooled, I made the filling. Most of the filling recipes I read included whipped cream, but we didn’t have any and I didn’t want to add it anyway. I was happy with a denser and healthier filling. I mixed together unflavored curd cheese paste (a smoother version of the regular kind), a spoonful of powdered sugar, a few drops of vanilla, and some raspberry jam. I didn’t want it to be too sweet because I knew how crazy sweet the cake itself was.
When the cake was cooled and spread with filling, it was time to roll. I now see that I made a mistake in allowing the cake to cool flat– the more reliable technique is to roll the cake, sandwiched in baking parchment, while it’s still warm, then carefully unroll it to apply the filling and roll it up again. This should prevent cracking. But I didn’t do that, so the inner layers cracked. I also got incredibly frustrated because when I tried to roll it, the parchment kept sliding across the table and I had no way to brace it. J finally had to come help me.
I drizzled a bit of chocolate over the top (everything’s better with chocolate!), and then it was time to taste. J liked it. I thought the filling came out well– it basically tasted like raspberry yogurt– but the cake still left me too cold. It was just to sweet, and although it wasn’t dry, I just don’t love the texture. My favorites are still dense, moist, flavorful cakes that don’t need a filling to be good.
If nothing else, this was an interesting baking experience. I already got some good tips in the comments of my Estonian post– adding cocoa or coffee powder to the batter to counter the sweetness, for example. I also think a coffee-flavored filling could be good. I may never love this cake, so popular with Estonians, but perhaps I can at least learn to make a good one.