Since I grew up with this, I assumed everyone knew about hot milk sponge cake, but after a friend said she'd never heard of it, I thought I should probably pass along the recipe. Then I rethought. I'm not sure if Mom would kill me, or if one of my sisters would kill me, or if some other distant relative would kill me. I mean, it's not a state secret, but it's a family recipe I don't have permission to post online, so here's a comparable recipe, if you're interested.
Anyway, I have many fond memories of eating this, and watching Mom make it, and of making it myself. Or rather, I have fond memories of Mom having made it and myself having made it. The memories of actually making it are gone. Weird. :shrug:
So, I've made this tons of times. I know I have. By myself. In my own home. In Michigan. After I moved out of the state, I couldn't make this damn thing work for love nor money. It came out weird in Florida. It came out like a thick, flat, weirdly-textured cookie in Colorado and Utah. The only thing I could think of as a culprit was the altitude. The last time I tried - because I wanted to impress my new husband with the awesomeness of hot milk sponge cake depressed me so bad, I didn't try again until yesterday. (Yeah, he was new at the time, so about 11 years.)
I was VERY careful. I measured everything out precisely. I followed the directions exactly. And after I discovered that I couldn't actually remember the steps to KNOW that I was doing it right, I hoped like hell I was doing it right. I almost called Mom, but she was in the middle of her own Mother's Day thing, so I bit the bullet and forged ahead.
Thirty minutes went by. I peeked. It looked right but too light and the toothpick was wet. Three minutes later, checked again. Not yet. Three minutes, three minutes, three minutes... I don't know how many three minute increments later, the top was a lovely golden brown and the damn toothpick was clean! Hallelujah!
But would it taste right? I waited as long as I could - which means it was still pretty warm - but I sliced into it. I don't remember it being that dense... but I don't remember a lot of shit, so that wasn't a big deal. I do remember the crunchy edges and the spongy goodness of the soft center. HUZZAH! I did it! Took me 14 freakin' years, but I did it!
I made strawberries with sugar to create shortcake later. And it was awesome.
I know I shouldn't be so weirdly excited about this, but I am. I won! Yay!
And since the strawberry thing isn't a family recipe here goes:
2-3 lbs strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup sugar
Slice berries to about 1/4 to 1/2" thick into a big bowl. Sprinkle cup of sugar all over the berry slices. Stir with big spoon. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. (The longer you have them in the fridge, the more the sugar has a chance to make juice with the strawberries.) Stir every once in a while. Taste test, and if they don't taste sweet enough, add more sugar. If you like less sweet, start with a half cup of sugar and add from there.