How to Make a Basic Sponge Cake

Updated on January 4, 2018
Baking sponge cake isn't a difficult endeavor!
Baking sponge cake isn't a difficult endeavor!

If I Can Make a Basic Sponge Cake, You Can Too!

I love eating plain sponge cake with no filling, frosting, or powdered sugar. If made correctly, sponge cakes are light, airy, and incredibly delicious! I used to think I couldn't master a fluffy sponge cake, so I would buy them from a store or bakery. Then, I ate a homemade sponge cake made by a friend who wasn't big on cooking, and she swore it was easy to make a plain sponge cake.

She was right! This recipe yields a light and fluffy cake that tastes delicious and has a slight lemon flavor. If you don't want the citrus taste, simply omit the lemon juice. Enjoy your homemade, basic sponge cake!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a blender and blend everything until the lemon zest is finely cut. Add the mixture and the butter to a bowl and beat this with a hand mixer on medium speed until everything is fluffy. This should take about five minutes.
  2. Add the eggs to this mixture one at a time, beating well after adding each egg. Once everything is combined, add the water, lemon juice, and vanilla. In a different bowl, use a whisk to mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the rest of the ingredients and mix on low speed. Then, add the rest of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until everything is incorporated.
  3. Now, beat the batter at medium speed until it becomes shiny. The mixture should also turn white. Do not skip this step or reduce the mixing time. The longer you mix the batter, the more air bubbles you create that make the sponge cake light and fluffy. The mixing should take about 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into two round cake pans that have been greased with shortening and liberally floured. Doing this will prevent your sponge cake from sticking to the sides.
  5. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for around 25-30 minutes until it pulls away gently from the sides. Do not open the oven while it is baking. The cake should be a golden color and spring back when touched. Poke the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through.
  6. Let the cake rest on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Make sure it's completely cool before adding any frosting. A lemon glaze would work well with this plain sponge cake recipe.

Questions & Answers

    Sponge Cake Recipe Comments

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      • profile image

        Gladys 

        3 years ago

        No idea what happened with mine, but it turned out really rubbery and weird although I checked tt I've followed all the instructions.

      • profile image

        nelz 

        4 years ago

        Made the cake twice using this recipe on different occasions. Substituted the lemon juice with orange. Absolutely delightful!!

      • profile image

        mariah 

        4 years ago

        It worked perfectly, I love it

        I made this cake for my Jesus Christmas cake

        And I love the flavor , and it came out nice and moist and

        golden brown.

        Thx for the awesome recipe : )

      • profile image

        BANU 

        4 years ago

        The recipes are great i tryd da vanilla cake and more others, it came out beautiful and i enjoyd makin it.

      • profile image

        hannah 

        4 years ago

        yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,hehe we liked it

      • profile image

        amani 

        6 years ago

        wow this is wonderful I like it nice making.

      • profile image

        athomeannie@blogspot.com 

        6 years ago

        Con questo impasto ho ottenuto degli ottimi muffin, complimenti, è diverso dal pan di spagna italiano ma il suo sapore è ottimo...

      • profile image

        Kitty 

        6 years ago

        Thanks for this recipe, Angela!

        I've been looking a for a moist cake recipe and this is it! I love it! (Didn't use lemons or vanilla, still great!) Decorated it with frosting/icing. Perfect.

        Note: Follow what the recipe says and divide the batter into 2 pans. The first time I tried this recipe, I put everything in one pan and it resulted in uncooked bottom parts. So do what the direction says and put the batter in 2 separate pans.

      • profile image

        jo 

        6 years ago

        Hello, can someone tell me this 2 cups of cake flour is supposed to serve how many people? Or how big the cake is gonna be?

      • profile image

        Sonal 

        6 years ago

        HIII! I think a spongy cake is quite yummy nd delicious so il definetly try it nd thnxxx a lot...

      • profile image

        mzzhottievani 

        6 years ago

        kool

      • profile image

        dallas 

        6 years ago

        i'll try it

      • profile image

        ummi manni 

        6 years ago

        i tried the cake receipie today first time ever in my life,its a blast wow.... i am totally amazed it works out well.thnxs a lot...

      • profile image

        leann 

        6 years ago

        Perfect recipe !!! Love it ,my new favorite.

      • profile image

        April 

        6 years ago

        Some of these comments are hilarious. So many people clearly have no idea how to cook and are blaming the recipe for their ineptitude.

        This cake looks fantastic and I'm looking forward to making it.

      • profile image

        Tiffanie 

        6 years ago

        how long does it take before our posts show up?

        =)

      • profile image

        wang 

        6 years ago

        just kidding it was gorgeous

        do u no any more recipes?

      • profile image

        wang 

        6 years ago

        i hated the cake

      • profile image

        Vimbai Mangwendeza frm Zimbabwe 

        6 years ago

        Sounds yummy m goin 2 try it 4 my sons birthday next week, iv been lookin 4 ths recipe 4 ages, thanx!!

      • profile image

        JustAboutCyprus 

        6 years ago

        Hi Angela, We decided to give your recipe a try. We followed it exactly as you said, and I have to say it was a beautiful sponge cake! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

        http://www.justaboutcyprus.com

      • profile image

        Mrs. Sheikh 

        6 years ago

        Mark , ofcourse it IS the wrong choice of FLOUR that turned your cake into a hard weapon! I gather you're a novice cook or else you would never ever have used red flour / whole wheat flour / atta to bake cakes!!!!!

        Atta or red wheat flour is used for baking breads and its the high fibre content in the flour (endosperm, germ and bran of wheat) which gives the bread its hard texture, it cannot be used for baking cakes!

        It isn't right infering this recipe's a disaster when you haven't actually followed the actual recipe.

        I am gonna try out this recipe today and hope it turns out light and fluffy. The only problem is I use all-purpose / white flour and hence am not sure how much of bicarb and baking powder are to be added to turn it into cake flour. I know there's a ratio just dont know how much. I hope the author will add that at the end of the recipe for those like me :)

      • profile image

        moon 

        6 years ago

        im blessed... when i baked it my way,it was horrible.....then when i baked it ur way it was absolutely awesome...good job on the recipe....

      • profile image

        guest 

        6 years ago

        I felt a craving of homemade sponge cake and remembered the taste and the smell of it which were totally different from store bought sponge cakes.

        My hands seemed to still sort of remember how to make them the old way.

        Just to check I looked up some of the recipes. They all were very similar to what I used between sixty and fifty years ago.

        The main difference is that originally we had to use spoons or forks and a hand rather than electrical whisk and do it.

        We did not have a gas or an electric oven to bake it in, but had to use a special pot with a central on a Primus stove and be careful not to burn it as it was impossible to properly control the temperature, but it still worked.

        I remember baking plain, vanilla, lemon and chocolate varieties.

        It worked well for young boy living alone in a family flat with parents and siblings living a few thousand kilometers away, but as I grew into my late teens I, chauvinistically, managed to pass the skill to girl/lady friends.

        Fate took its' revenge and for close to fifty years I have been living with a great wife, with many skill and talents which, alas, do not normally include baking, ironing or sewing on buttons, but, I suppose, you can't have everything.

      • profile image

        Tom 

        6 years ago

        Baking it right now. Hope it turns out well!

      • profile image

        Sana 

        6 years ago

        Hi,

        I tried this recipe just now. It turned out pretty good but i didn't get the spongy texture as such and it was a little dry. I think the consistency of my batter was somewhat thick. What should i do when i feel its getting thick?

      • profile image

        kezia 

        6 years ago

        how much does this entire cake actually serve?

      • profile image

        Jesika 

        6 years ago

        i made my mixture and put it in the oven after 25mins i peeped inside and wow i saw gold it came out exactly like on the picture.

      • profile image

        Tanisha 

        6 years ago

        i just went ahead and made it with salted butter..........the cake came out good..soft and airy inside and the slight crunchy outer layer

        Thanks for a great recipe

      • profile image

        Tanisha 

        6 years ago

        I just wanted to know if salted butter can be used instead of unsalted butter as the recipe demands

      • profile image

        ruby 

        6 years ago

        HEY

        this cake is the best i actually used for my get together and my friends and i had a cake competition and i won this is my first cake and i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS

      • profile image

        anny 

        6 years ago

        lush it was ill make it agaiin

      • profile image

        MissAbbi 

        6 years ago

        Made it and it turned out a little more dense then I thought but it was still tasty! I made two round layers in 8" pans then put the layers together with a thick layer of whipped topping and a thin layer of blueberry preserves... and then put powdered sugar on the top to make a Victorian Sponge cake. :) That cake didn't even last a day in my house. Haha!

      • profile image

        mansi 

        6 years ago

        it,s delicioussssssssss

      • profile image

        MissAbbi 

        6 years ago

        Trying it now :)

      • Karen N profile image

        Karen N 

        6 years ago from United States

        Sounds delicious, I've always loved sponge cake but have never tried to bake one myself.

      • profile image

        Mary Morris 

        6 years ago

        This is a recipe I have wanted for a long time; a sponge cake without milk. I expect it to be perfect when I do try it. I just know, I have seen a lot of recipes and baked many cakes. Those of you who made flops, the fault is your own not the recipe.

      • profile image

        PC 

        6 years ago

        I just tried this recipe. I followed exactly what it said. It tasted ok but not fluffy at all! How do I make it more spongy?

      • profile image

        koko 

        7 years ago

        i love it just kidding i hate it

      • profile image

        sam 

        7 years ago

        i didn't use the lemons and you know in the over i did it for 15 minutes. I uses the four and the other food and I forgot to add the lemons and it was okay and i did like it.

      • profile image

        naomi 

        7 years ago

        i love this cake very much i will bake it tommorow during my practical lesson.

      • profile image

        Frency 

        7 years ago

        I tried this using exact measurements, time (30 mins) and steps but in a microwave (in convection mode). The cake didn't brown and was uncooked from the inside even though the toothpick came out clean. :( Could someone please help me out here. SOS !!!

      • profile image

        Alison 

        7 years ago

        I was wondering what size of pan would you use? 8 inch?

      • profile image

        sid 

        7 years ago

        this sounds yum and delicious

      • profile image

        Tina 

        7 years ago

        @LoveCakes, I agree. It was great and the measurements are so simple. This website is great!!

      • profile image

        LoveCakes 

        7 years ago

        It's given in cups because that's a measurement. Learn your math! And if you can't understand how much a cup is, go convert it and don't be lazy!

        This cake is definitely a go for me. Would love to try it as muffins. Thanks

      • profile image

        kehkashan 

        7 years ago

        pls tell me how to make similar fluffy cake in microwave .

      • rembrandz profile image

        Remy Francis 

        7 years ago from Creative Zone Dubai

        Hey there Angela

        I put a search on google for a sponge cake recipe...and was delighted to see one in our very own hubpages. Today was a family member's birthday and I wanted to make a basic cake to make the fancy birthday cake. It came out so well. Thanks to you!

      • profile image

        titiu 

        7 years ago

        nice cake

      • profile image

        janit 

        7 years ago

        u should try more egggs try adding twice as much say if u put 2 eggs in u would put 4 eggs in it always works

      • profile image

        Deborah 

        7 years ago

        This cake was tasty, but not as fluffy as I expect sponge cake to be. Guess I'll go with the slightly more work of a traditional recipe, separating the eggs.

      • profile image

        den 

        7 years ago

        can i use veg oil instead of butter. Thanks it sounds great can't wait to start baking

      • profile image

        danielle  

        7 years ago

        Do I have to use cake flour or does all purpose work?

      • profile image

        yup 

        7 years ago

        if vanilla is not there what i should put in the sponge cake

      • profile image

        Nick King 

        7 years ago

        YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!

        This is perfect for creating an exact replica of a twinkie!!!!!! Once I've perfected it, I will rule the world!!!!

        MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        sophie 

        7 years ago

        this sounds like something i could try ope it comes out alright, will let u knw plus al try it out with self raising baking flour over the weekend.

      • profile image

        buddy123:) 

        7 years ago

        It was amazingg:)everybody loved it!

      • profile image

        zuhaank@yahoo.com 

        7 years ago

        plz any one send me sponge cake how to cook in microwave oven . i want to know how to cook in microwave oven thanxxxxxxxxxxx zuhaank@yahoo.com

      • profile image

        beergal 

        7 years ago

        angela, thank you so much for this great recipe!!!!!!

        after the failure with normal flour, i finally made it with cake flour! to my surprise, the cake turned out to be very very similar to the traditional Cantonese cake ???? (literally means [parchment] paper wrapped cake) - which brings back childhood memories.

        i myself enjoy the crispy top so much and would advise everyone who thinks the same to use a more shallow cake pan.

        p.s. i didn't add the lemon zest.

      • profile image

        hallema 

        7 years ago

        hi guys what's up plz give me choc cake resapie

      • profile image

        leighann 

        7 years ago

        I love it its awesome. Thanks for sharing the recipe . Its the best

      • profile image

        leighann 

        7 years ago

        I love it its awesome. Thanks for sharing the recipe . Its the best

      • profile image

        chelsea  

        7 years ago

        thats a very nice cake tht i made and my family said it was really nice i would make one of them again today

      • profile image

        Smitha 

        7 years ago

        It was very good.My daughter like it

      • profile image

        Valerie 

        7 years ago

        The sponge cake was a hit I got it for my daughter to make

        because I can't bake for my life!my daughter is only 12 and

        made this cake I'm so proud. Now it time for some cake :)

      • profile image

        iyhene 

        7 years ago

        hi i just tried this recipe. it turned out ok..its not what i have expected but its alright. hubby said its good, my baby said its good as well. it didn't really rise. i guess i can put some baking soda next time.

      • profile image

        anj 

        7 years ago

        I tried this recipe just now and having my fist slice, it's so delicious, light not too sweet... I think the 9" pan is a little too big ..the top layer did not brown as the one in this picture.. will try using a tube pan... thanks

      • profile image

        kudzi 

        7 years ago

        will try it

      • profile image

        Ria 

        7 years ago

        Hi,

        I will like to try your recipe:D

        Thanks :)

      • profile image

        alix 

        7 years ago

        yummy

      • profile image

        Tristen 

        7 years ago

        thank you for the help i will try this tonight if i can get out and go to the store :)ill post back with the results

      • profile image

        Angela 

        7 years ago

        I have not used this particular recipe but I have baked cakes. Try using 350 degrees and bake on a tray in the middle of the oven for about 45 to 50 mins. Check at 45 mins but it should not take more than 1 hour.

      • profile image

        Tristen 

        7 years ago

        Can anyone tell me how long to cook this for and at what tempature? im new to cooking and from all the coments this seems like a good recipe to begin with i would appreciate the help

      • profile image

        Ryan 

        7 years ago

        I originally used all purpose flower for this cake. This does not work. You must use Cake Flower! With Cake flower this is a wonderful cake.

      • profile image

        Ryan 

        7 years ago

        I followed the recipie to the letter. For some reason the cake came our flat & not light & airy. Any tips?

      • Julie Logan profile image

        Julie Logan 

        7 years ago from U.S.A.

        This looks so yummy and you make it sound pretty simple. I've been afraid to try making sponge cakes but I'm going to give this one a shot.

      • profile image

        ajay tyagi 

        7 years ago

        confused abt the cup size.... plz convert it into grams for me... i need to bake it for my lovely daughters...so waiting for the exact measurments.....

      • profile image

        Anya 

        7 years ago

        I am no baker... but after failed attempts over the last several years, this was the first one that came out awesome- and without anybody's help too!!! I did not use the lemon juice but followed every other step to the last letter and the result is great!! Thank you for your great instructions!

      • profile image

        Melanie 

        7 years ago

        Yes! I did this recipe and it was successful! I tried few sponge cake recipes before but this one was the best for me. I am really satisfied with the result. I used vegetable oil instead of butter, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. No lemon.

        Thank you, Angela and Merry Christmas to all!

      • profile image

        Joe 

        7 years ago

        I made this last night for my wifes work party. While it came out edible, mine looked nothing like the picture.

        The top, even when cooled, was a wet kind of skin, like cake that had been left in a tupperware for several days. That part wasn't pleasant, the rest was all right.

        It's possible that using 9 inch cake pans cause problems, though I don't think so.

      • profile image

        Sarah 

        7 years ago

        Thanks for the recipe! I tried it out and it was awesome, by the way any of you here know the recipe for Cinnamon buns?:D

      • profile image

        Su 

        7 years ago

        Can I reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup?

      • profile image

        Carrie 

        7 years ago

        This cake was REALLY sweet, so if you like a less sweet cake I suggest taking down the sugar. The cake kinda sunk after it cooled, but it still worked for my petit fours. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied :)

      • profile image

        Agnes 

        7 years ago

        I baked my cake for an hour. Why did my cake turn out dry?

      • profile image

        sheetal 

        7 years ago

        Nice receipe..the most simplest one.. wil def try .thnx

      • profile image

        Ayesha 

        8 years ago

        This recipe is simple and awesome, I made my first cake following this recipe and it was so good I can't tell, no one would believe that I baked for the first time! :) thank you so much for sharing this.I just love it. :D

      • profile image

        Ann  

        8 years ago

        Pls is this lemon, the natural one with its back on or peeled ? And what will I blend the sugar with, if I don't want the lemon.

      • profile image

        Queeny  

        8 years ago

        Sounds great. But pls is half natural fresh lemon , with its back. And if I want to skip the lemon part, what should I do, as not all my customers may appreciate it. Pls reply me as I have been intimidated heavily by a competitor

      • profile image

        George Oommen 

        8 years ago

        WOW......... My wife and I, we bake tons of cake during Christmas at home for our friend and relatives, i have been wanting to bake a sponge cake for a long time, then I stumble upon your recipe on the internet.... I followed your instructions and yes WOW what a cake it turned out to be ....thank you so much....now I will try different flavours......Thanks once again

      • profile image

        Alvina ( Singapore ) 

        8 years ago

        Wah ~ Sound very good recipe =) I am a newbie in baking , I got quite a few of recipe from internet but end up all of the sponge cake outcome result N times Failed me ,but I have No prob to baked chiffon cake.I am sure will try to bake it soon and post my comment here for share =)

      • Angela Harris profile imageAUTHOR

        Angela Harris 

        8 years ago from Around the USA

        DUCK2, thanks for the compliment! Glad you enjoyed the spongecake recipe!

      • profile image

        DUCK2 

        8 years ago

        It is the best cake ive ever tasted!:D

      • Angela Harris profile imageAUTHOR

        Angela Harris 

        8 years ago from Around the USA

        Mr4XTrading3, thanks!

      • profile image

        Gill 

        8 years ago

        I'm considered an above average baker, but this cake, instructions followed to the 't' was nothing but a disaster!

      • profile image

        Madeleine 

        8 years ago

        Mark the problem would have been both your flour and your reduction in sugar.

        Sponge needs a very light flour, it is traditionally made with standard baking flour or cornflour so the flour you used would have been far too heavy.

        Sugar affects the structure of the gluten in the flour. If you alter the amount you alter the structure of the cake. Sugar in baking is not all about sweetness.

      • Mr4XTrading3 profile image

        Mr4XTrading3 

        8 years ago

        Congrats on the new milestone!!! I am new to Hubpages and stumbled upon a stats page that lead me here.

      • Angela Harris profile imageAUTHOR

        Angela Harris 

        8 years ago from Around the USA

        Mark, I'm going to have to assume that the flour was indeed the culprit, but I can't be sure. I'm sorry it didn't turn out for you.

        To anyone else having problems with this sponge cake recipe- be sure that you are using cake flour, not regular flour. Otherwise, your sponge cake may indeed turn out tough or dry.

      • profile image

        Mark 

        8 years ago

        Hi I just tried this recipe and it was a disaster. The cake came out very hard and did not rise at all. If I sharpen the edges I can use the cake as a weapon!!

        I used less sugar - 1/2 cup and I used atta flour (Indian fine ground whole wheat flour). Maybe I over-mixed? I mixed for 15 min as instructed but the 'batter' had become a very tough elastic dough by then. My mixer was having trouble mixing it because it was so thick and I stopped when my mixer started smoking!!!

        Is the difference in flour to blame?

        Mark

      • profile image

        Valerie 

        8 years ago

        HI FRIENDS: JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU ALL A BIT OF INFO:

        CAKE FLOUR - IS FLOUR USED FOR CAKES ONLY.

        BREAD FLOUR - IS FLOUR USED FOR BREADS

        WHEAT FLOUR - IS FLOUR USED FOR WHEAT PRODUCTS

        PASTRY FLOUR - IS A PERFECT BLEND AND MIXTURE OF CAKE FLOUR AND BREAD FLOUR USED FOR PASTRIES COOKIES, ETC. IF YOU DON'T HAVE PASTRY FLOUR - YOU CAN SUBSTITUTE 1 1/3 C. ALL PURPOSE FLOUR AND 2/3 C. CAKE FLOUR.

        ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO SIFT!! HAVE A GREAT DAY ALL!

      • profile image

        TamTam  

        8 years ago

        This is by far the worst recipe ever created... not recommended at all!!!!

      • profile image

        Gladys Matemu 

        8 years ago

        Am going to try it today, seems to be so sweetie...thanks

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