Much as I love a good roll cake, I’m not the biggest fan of its usual base–the sponge cake. It’s essentially a lot of whipped eggs and little flour baked into a beautifully light, perfectly roll-able cake that, unfortunately, comes out weirdly chewy and has no flavor.
Strange that I don’t love it.
So I took a basic sponge cake recipe and made it a bunch of times, because making 6 cakes on a Saturday afternoon is totally normal, people. I swapped out ingredients to try to improve the texture–maybe cake flour would make it less chewy and more tender? Maybe more sugar would help it crisp up?
In the end, the only thing that made any noticeable difference, other than the cake flour making it worse, was adding oil. Sponge cakes traditionally have no added fat, just the small amount in the egg yolks. An added 1/4 c. of oil for one jelly roll pan’s worth of cake took the sponge from unpleasantly chewy to just a little strange. Progress!
(What I’ve just told you is that it took me a whole afternoon and many cakes to discover that adding butter is always the answer.)
But I’m still not a sponge cake convert, which is why there’s no recipe today. Go make this cake, or this one, or stick to cupcakes while we figure this one out. Next up: chiffon cake. I have a good feeling about this one.