My attempt

Sponge cake needs only eggs, sugar, and flour. Everything else is secondary. Given my limited budget, this ingredients list of low-maintenance products was perfect.
Granted, I’d never made a sponge cake before, and this version turned out a bit dry. However, that may have worked to my advantage because it easily and cleanly sliced into three layers. Paired with the taro cream and my runny semi-failure of a meringue frosting, it got pretty close to the taro birthday cake of my dreams.

For the sponge cake

                • Cooking spray
                • 6 medium eggs
                • ⅔ c. granulated sugar (139 g.)
                • 1 c. all-purpose flour (128 g.)
                • 1 tbsp. cornstarch (10 g.)
                • ¾ tsp. kosher salt (4 g.)
                • 1 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled (14 g.)
                      1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 8” or 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
                      2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add 3 whole eggs and 3 yolks into stand mixer and whip until thick and lightened in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add in ½ cup sugar, whipping at medium speed until fluffy and ribbony, 8 to 10 minutes more.
                      3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl using a hand mixer on medium-high speed, whip 3 remaining egg whites until foamy. Continue to whip, gradually adding in remaining sugar, until medium-stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes more.
                      4. Gently fold flour into whole egg mixture in two batches, until well combined, then gently fold in meringue in two batches. Add melted butter and fold to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
                      5. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, then lower oven to 325°. Continue baking until top is smooth, rounded, and golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.
                        1. For the blueberry reduction

                                        • 1 ½ c. blueberries
                                        • Pinch kosher salt
                                        • ¼ c. granulated sugar (55 g.)
                                        • 2 tbsp. water
                                          1. In a small pot over medium heat, bring blueberries, sugar, and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until blueberries burst and mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency, 8 to 10 minutes.
                                          2. Remove from heat and strain, reserving both fruit pulp and syrup separately. Let cool completely.
                                            1. For the taro cream filling

                                                            • 1 lb. taro, peeled, cut into ½” cubes
                                                            • Pinch kosher salt
                                                            • ⅔ c. granulated sugar (139 g.)
                                                            • ¼ c. coconut cream (55 g.)
                                                            • 2 tbsp. blueberry reduction
                                                              1. In a large pot over medium heat, add taro and just barely cover with water (about 1 ¼ cup). Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking until taro is completely tender and creamy when mashed with a fork, about 20 minutes.
                                                              2. Mash taro until completely smooth, then stir in sugar and coconut cream while hot. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is thick like peanut butter, returning to a medium-low heat to thicken if necessary. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
                                                                1. For the meringue “frosting”

                                                                                • 5 medium egg whites (151 g.)
                                                                                • Pinch kosher salt
                                                                                • 1 ¼ c. granulated sugar (255 g.)
                                                                                • ½ c. water (118g)
                                                                                • ½ tbsp. butter, softened
                                                                                • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
                                                                                  1. In a small pot over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Continue cooking until syrup reaches 245°, about 8 minutes.
                                                                                  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until completely foamy and opaque.
                                                                                  3. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and slowly and carefully stream in hot syrup. Increase mixer speed to high and let whip until mixture is fluffy and cooled to lukewarm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Add in butter and vanilla and whip until fully incorporated.
                                                                                  4. Optionally, divide frosting into two batches. Into one batch, stir in blueberry reduction 1 tablespoon at a time until desired color is reached. Transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost cake as desired.

                                                                                    1. Because I used only nine ingredients and spent a grand total of $4.27, my taro birthday cake may not have been the best cake the world has ever seen. But maybe this year is the year we embrace that sometimes being good-not-perfect is perfectly good enough? That said, just in case you want your cake day to be perfect, Makinze’s got your back: Her marshmallow cake has a meringue frosting that is actually fluffy and *chef’s kiss*.
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