Musing About Sponge Cake and Helpful Cousins

August 23, 2011: Sponge Cake Day
Food of the Day for a One-Year Goal
Day: #48

Who Knew? I was wrong. You do NOT need to harvest sponge from the deep blue sea to make sponge cake. All you need is butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. I added lemon because I wanted a sponge cake with zest appeal.

Sponge cake is interesting to make. It requires hours of mixing. Well, maybe not hours, but my KitchenAid was the busiest appliance in my kitchen. I had no idea that beating air bubbles into the cake mixture makes it spongy. My guess (if asked) would have been the less you beat the cake mixture, the spongier the cake would turn out. If that question had been on The Millionaire show, I would have blown it for sure.

Here is a picture of my sponge cake. Cole took the picture and added the ice cream and strawberries which I thought made it look more festive.

A summer cold caught me and brought along all the classic symptoms: coughing, sneezing, runny . . . Well, you know the rest.

And while I rest and bury my nose in a Kleenex, Cousin Carla has graciously offered to muse with you.


Being the cousin that cooks, I knew that sponge cake needed air whipped into the batter to make it spongy. Had Kb been on The Millionaire show, she would have listed me as her “phone a friend,” and we would have cleaned up.

I was caught unawares by the request for my musings. I’m not sure if I am supposed to be musing about sponge cake, about sponges in general, or about the common cold. I’m just so thrilled to be needed to do something for someone that I want to be sure I don’t screw this up.

Isn’t it one of the best feelings in the world when you get that phone call (or email), and you have been chosen by a dear friend or family member to save their day? The last time I got to save someone, I received a call from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while, and she told me she had run out of gas. She had been calling everyone in her phone contacts trying to find someone who could help her. Now, please notice that my last name is Smith. I couldn’t help thinking of all the people she had called before me — husband, sisters, coworkers — but they had all passed. Maybe they were too busy, maybe they didn’t hear the phone, or maybe they got the call and bumped it to voicemail. She told me she had called 38 people! I was thrilled to be number 39!

I left my half-full cart in a corner of the grocery store and jumped in my car. It only took me about 10 minutes to get home, grab the gas can, and get to 7-11 to fill it up. It took about another 15 minutes to drive to where she was stranded, pulled over on the side of a rural road leading out of town. When I pulled up behind her, I could see she was sitting sideways in the driver’s seat with the door open, sweating profusely. We live in Florida; it was 97 degrees, very humid, and not a tree or a breeze in sight. When she saw me pull up, she leaped to her feet, ran to my car, and hugged me. You would have thought I was Ed McMahon delivering the Publisher’s Clearing House check! I think she may have actually cried.

It took about 7 minutes to figure out how to get the gas out of the can and into the car (I forgot the gas funnel), and another 3 minutes of hugging and profuse thanking. Figure in another 15-minute drive back to town, and in less than an hour, with very little effort or cash, I had made her day better. I fixed what seemed to be (after 38 phone calls, and an hour sitting and sweating on the side of the road) an insurmountable problem. I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. However, I am a problem solver, and for that friend, on that day, I made her life better. There is nothing better than that.

It is so rare for Kb to reach the end of her rope. She seems to have a very long rope and rarely needs any saving, especially from a faraway cousin. So although no one is stranded or sweating or needing medical attention, someone needs me, and I am thrilled and flattered to get the call and to be able to answer it.

Oh yeah, enjoy the sponge cake!


Big hug! My hero! Isn’t Cousin Carla great? A cousin in need is a cousin indeed! Or is it a friend in need is a friend indeed? Well,both apply in this case. Carla is right — she would have been one of my Millionaire lifelines for sure, and we would have been rich! Rich at last!

Emily solved Sponge Cake Day a different way. I thought she was very clever!

“I went for the America’s favorite sponge cake treat. One enjoyed tonight by my high school junior; others will be snuck into lunch boxes in the morning. Surprise! Mom bought Twinkies — I never buy Twinkies!”

Share how you have done “hero work” for a friend in need in the comments . . . Odd Loves Company!

Excuse me now while I go and blow my nose.


4 thoughts on “Musing About Sponge Cake and Helpful Cousins

  1. Sponge cake looks really good. I have not rescued any one recently but I have noticed a lot of nice people over the last few weeks. Funny it seems the more I notice them the more their are-opening doors at just the right time, letting me merge when I am in the wrong lane, I watched a teen help a senior load her cars with groceries over the weekend. Her mom may have told her too but still she did it so graciously.
    Emily-you are my kind of mom!

  2. I think one of the nicest things ever, is when you ask someone to do something and they say, sure I’d be happy to do that. Then they don’t add but you’ll owe me. They don’t add, “well I really don’t have the time, but I’ll do it”. No come back at all, just sure, happy to. I LOVE those people.

  3. The other day a friend at called me from Cosco and asked if she could pick something up for me. It just so happened we were out of paper towel so I ask her to grab some for me-which she did and then dropped it off on the way home. She told me it was no big deal but I thought she was amazing, thoughtful and perhaps slotted for Sainthood. I hate being out of paper towel.
    Next time I am at Cosco I’m going to make it a point to call her!!
    Great post. I like your Cousin Carla.

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