Homemade Ravioli

A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.

Sponge Cake

For Amanuensis Monday (sharing the words of another person), I have my Nanny’s handwriting and recipe for sponge cake. There are a couple of terms she writes in parentheses. I can’t quite decipher what she means. Aunt Joanne suggested “scant” and that looks right the more I look at it.


12 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups sugar (scant?)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cake flour (scant?)

Beat egg whites–add cream of tartar gradually–add sugar. Beat egg yolks until light color & thick–add Vanilla. Fold the two batters together. Fold in Flour to the batter.
Grease & flour pan well.

325 Oven — 50 minutes

I like the way the paper ages. The traces of sugar, vanilla, egg white, browning the page. I like seeing her handwriting. The way the stems, strokes, and cross-strokes of many letters slash their way into lines above and below. Her “t”s insist on being seen, don’t they? Her “V” might be the largest letter on the page. It lands like an axe. I like the way her “F”s nudge a little extra space for themselves. And the “L”s lay like leafy bedding. Her vowels are subtle like a soft breath. I can see her writing, I can see the pencil making ‘S’s and “P”s and “Y”s and “D”s roll and rise and sink like a prairie. And the ends of her words purl like a tight, deliberate, stitch.

About Brian Kelley

Middle school teacher, co-chair of our ELA department, and co-director with PAWLP. Follow me on Twitter @_briank_.

2 comments on “Sponge Cake

  1. jkbett
    February 16, 2015

    it looks like “scant” to me. In other words, just short of a cup.


  2. joanl777
    February 16, 2015

    Yes it is scant. This is the cake she used fir her famous strawberry shortcake, which was to die for. Also in the summer she used to use fresh peaches instead of strawberries. I remember the time she was making the whipped cream and she over whipped it and it became butter. She sent my dad to front street to buy more heavy cream. Oh she was so bad. Lol. I need to try to make this. I have her cake pan.

    Liked by 1 person

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