How to Make Cakes as Easy as Pie
Separate eggs as soon as you remove them from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature 30 minutes before beating.
If a trace of yolk gets into the whites, the whites will not expand to their fullest volume. To ensure a clean separation, crack each egg over an empty bowl, then transfer the yolk to a “yolks” bowl and the white to a “whites” bowl.
Use a spotlessly clean bowl for beating egg whites. Any trace of fat will prevent whites from obtaining full volume.
Soft peaks fall over; stiff peaks stand up straight. Do not overbeat egg whites.
For this recipe, spoon about one-fourth of the stiffly beaten egg whites on top of the heavier chocolate batter. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, cut through the mixture to the bottom of the bowl with a gentle over and under movement. This allows the remaining egg whites to be folded in more easily without deflating them.
A sponge cake is done when the cake springs back when gently pressed with your fingertips.
If the cake cracks, just patch the crack with some of the frosting. If you overbake the cake, brush with an almond-flavored liqueur to avoid a dry consistency.