It's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and ridiculously hot in an awful lot of places. You don't want to heat up the kitchen by using the oven, but you've got a craving for cake. Plain spongecake is easy to make; you can bake it in the oven, or you can steam it in a Chinese steamer... and, it turns out, you can even microwave it.MICROWAVE SPONGECAKE
(serves 2 - 4)
You will need a round microwave-safe dish, about 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 cm) in diameter and at least 3 inches (8 cm) deep - the cake will rise up higher than an oven-baked cake. Butter it lightly, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3 "large" eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (*)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour(*) You may substitute 1/2 teaspoon lemon or almond extract, or 1 tablespoon liqueur, or 1/2 teaspoon finely grated citrus peel.
Place the eggs, still in their shells, in a large bowl, and fill the bowl with the hottest possible tap water. Let stand until the eggs are warm to the touch. (This makes them fluffier when you beat them.)
Pour off the water and crack the eggs into the bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and flavoring, then use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until it is pale and very fluffy. Gently fold in the flour, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. It won't look done, but it will be; don't overcook this cake, or the texture will resemble balsa wood! Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice the cake in half horizontally if you want a layer cake. Frost (and fill) as desired. Make sure the frosting covers the whole surface of the cake, right down to the plate, and once you've served some, cover the cut surfaces tightly with plastic wrap, because spongecake dries out very quickly.STUPIDLY SIMPLE CHOCOLATE FROSTING/GLAZE
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Very hot tap water
Stir together the cocoa and confectioner's sugar. Add the butter and vanilla, then very gradually stir in hot water until the mixture is the thickness you want. Spread, spoon, or pour over cooled cake.Also posted to acelightning