We'll need a trip to Auntie Narelle and the return of my Dad to fact-check this, but I'm pretty certain this is it. This is the champion sponge. It's incredibly light, it's got flavour, and it's moist. It's everything you want in a sponge (if you take them as seriously as I do) and obviously I really need to get out more but heck this sponge is exciting. EXCITING.
Thanks for all your input you lovely folk, particularly those who took the time to locate and email links. Auntie Narelle also located some of Grandma's recipes and copied and posted them to me, confirming the Fielder's Sponge suspicion. Does it really need a particular brand of cornflour? I don't know. I'll inevitably try it with a different brand because we buy in cornflour to make the Buena Vista Farm egg custard and it's not Fielder's. I went and bought the right stuff (our IGA stocked it) in honour of Grandma who was obviously brand loyal for a reason. (I hasten to say there is nothing at all sponsored about this post!! I'm not going to come over all Rolling's Reliable, I promise!! … And if you get that reference we're soulmates for life you and I.)
Anyway, it's delicious. As I made it, it rang bells. Oh YES. The triple sifting, I remember that. Actually, as I got to the end, I remembered why I stopped making sponge cakes in favour of other cakes all those years ago. It creates so many dishes! When you've got delightful butter cakes or orange cakes which have similar nuances and you've only got one bowl to wash up after, you've got to really really love the sponge to keep it on top of the list.
I'll stop pursuing the sponge for now. Although I will make a trip to Auntie Narelle with one soon, and I'll make one for Dad when he gets back from tripping around the country.
Maybe one day in the faraway future someone will turn up at my door with my Mum's passionfruit shortcake, a very long time after she'd last made it for me. Food is evocative. I'd cherish every bite. Because a cake is never just a cake, particularly when it's someone's signature. It's a sweet reminder of kitchen hours and bowl lickings and tea time treats.
I hope you make this, and love it, and that someone else washes up.
Grandma's Sponge (AKA Fielder's Famous Sponge Cake)
3 eggs (separated)
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup castor sugar
⅔ cup cornflour
1 slightly rounded tablespoon plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 190°C. Grease, flour and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.
Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in sugar, a little at a time, then continue beating until stiff.
Add egg yolks and vanilla essence, beat until combined.
Sift together 3 times – cornflour, plain flour and baking powder, then add to egg mixture.
Carefully and lightly fold mixture together using a wooden spoon or spatula. Do not stir.
Divide batter evenly between two pans and bake 18-20 minutes.
Notes: I didn't fill mine with cream as I had none handy, and just used jam. I was in a bit of a hurry to get out the door with Adam to pick up kids from school and continue onto Berry and Nowra to deliver boxes eggs to restaurants and pick up a hired ute to do the chicken run tomorrow (meat birds going to the abattoir). It's a racy script. The photo's were taken in a thirty second window and whacked into a container to placate hungry kids on the drive. I don't recall Grandma typically using fresh cream, and in the clipped-together recipes Auntie Narelle sent, there was a 'mock cream' recipe of 3oz butter + 3oz sugar + 1 tbsp hot water which is what I remember being her sponge filling.
I'll ask Dad, I'm sure he'll know.