German Chocolate Sponge Cake: Schokolade Biskuittorte

"Milk and vegetable oil add moisture to this sponge cake gently flavored with cocoa. I like to serve this cake with whipped cream. For the whipped cream, Confectioners’ sugar is preferred to granulated sugar because the small amount of cornstarch in the former discourages the weeping that occurs when whipped cream stands for longer than a few hours. A hint of vanilla is imperative. Learn to distinguish between the stages of whipped cream; it doesn’t always have to be stiff. As a garnish for a dessert, the goal is softly beaten Schlagsahne that barely mounds. When used for piping, cream should be whipped to the stiff stage. Of course there is an in between stage, too, used for when the cream is the base for a torte filling. Take care not to over whip the cream, at which point it has a coarse, grainy texture and is well on its way to becoming butter."
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  • FOR THE CAKE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess flour.
  • Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer. Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water over medium heat (the water should not touch the bowl.). Whisk until the eggs are very warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved (rub a bit of the egg mixture between your fingers to check for grains of sugar). Attach to the mixer and fit with the whisk. Beat on medium high speed until the mixture is tripled in volume and very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk and vegetable oil until hot to the touch (about 120 F.). Pour into a medium bowl and stir in the vanilla.
  • Sift the cake flour, cocoa, and salt together. Sift HALF of the cocoa mixture over the egg mixture. Using a large balloon whisk, fold in the cocoa mixture. Sift the remaining cocoa mixture over the batter and fold. Whisk a large dollop of the batter into the milk mixture. Fold this mixture back into the batter. Pour into the pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake until the top springs back when pressed in the center and the sides are barely beginning to shrink from the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, invert onto the rack, and remove the bottom of the pan and the paper. Reinvert the cake onto another rack, right side up. Cool completely.
  • Make ahead: The cake can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 1 month.
  • FOR THE SWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM: Pour the cream into a well chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. For soft peaks, the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows. For stiffly beaten cream, the beaters or whisk wires will leave distinct traces in the cream and stand in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.
  • Make ahead: The cream can be whipped up to 1 day ahead, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. If liquid separates from the cream, whip it again to incorporate the liquid.
  • Kaffeehaus.Rick Rodgers.

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