XISCA’S MALLORCAN SPONGE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE
Grandma’s friend Nikki goes often to Mallorca, where the treat of choice is a sponge cake, cut in squares to dip in hot milk chocolate sauce in the manner of cheese fondue.
Butter for the pan
7 eggs, separated
340 g/2¾ cups sugar
200 g/1 2/3 cups flour
Pinch of salt
For the chocolate sauce
200 g/6 oz dark chocolate
500 ml/2 cups full cream milk
8×11-inch rectangular cake pan; forks and fondue pan or medium saucepan for serving
1. Heat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC and set a shelf in the center. Butter the cake pan, line the base with parchment paper and butter the paper, pressing it down well.
2. For the cake batter: In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, or by hand, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until stiff and light, 2-3 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Whisk in the remaining sugar in 3 batches to form a stiff meringue, whisking for 30 seconds after each addition. The meringue should form a stiff peak. Fold the meringue into the egg yolk mixture alternately with the flour.
3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared mold and bake in the oven until the sponge cake is browned and pulls from the sides of the pan, 25-35 minutes. The center of the cake should be firm when pressed with a fingertip and have a crispy top.
4. Take the cake from the oven and let it cool 2-3 minutes before turning it onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the paper after 5 minutes. The cake should be kept several hours, and up to a day before serving so it is firm and fairly dry.
5. For the chocolate sauce: break the chocolate into squares and put it in the fondue pan with the milk. Melt over low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts and the sauce bubbles. Serve at the table, keeping the heat very low. Cut the cake in ¾-inch/2-cm cubes and serve a pile of cubes to each guest so they can dip into the fondue pan in the center of the table. Have a long- stemmed spoon handy to rescue any fallen cake.