Updated date:

How to Make a Basic Sponge Cake

I love eating and baking sponge cake, even if it's just served plain.

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.

© 2008 Angela Harris

Sponge Cake Recipe Comments

Gladys on January 09, 2015:

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

nelz on January 11, 2014:

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

mariah on December 23, 2013:

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 : )

BANU on November 29, 2013:

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

hannah on November 27, 2013:

yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,hehe we liked it

amani on April 26, 2012:

wow this is wonderful I like it nice making.

athomeannie@blogspot.com on April 23, 2012:

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

Kitty on April 17, 2012:

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.

jo on April 08, 2012:

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?

Sonal on March 17, 2012:

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

mzzhottievani on March 15, 2012:

kool

dallas on March 09, 2012:

i'll try it

ummi manni on March 01, 2012:

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...

leann on February 16, 2012:

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

April on February 05, 2012:

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.

Tiffanie on January 28, 2012:

how long does it take before our posts show up?

=)

wang on January 22, 2012:

just kidding it was gorgeous

do u no any more recipes?

wang on January 22, 2012:

i hated the cake

Vimbai Mangwendeza frm Zimbabwe on January 21, 2012:

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

JustAboutCyprus on January 21, 2012:

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

Mrs. Sheikh on January 18, 2012:

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 :)

moon on January 17, 2012:

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....

guest on January 14, 2012:

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.

Tom on January 13, 2012:

Baking it right now. Hope it turns out well!

Sana on December 29, 2011:

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?

kezia on December 29, 2011:

how much does this entire cake actually serve?

Jesika on December 24, 2011:

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.

Tanisha on December 22, 2011:

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

Tanisha on December 22, 2011:

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

ruby on December 22, 2011:

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

anny on December 13, 2011:

lush it was ill make it agaiin

MissAbbi on November 29, 2011:

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!

mansi on November 19, 2011:

it,s delicioussssssssss

MissAbbi on November 15, 2011:

Trying it now :)

Karen N from United States on November 06, 2011:

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

Mary Morris on November 04, 2011:

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.

PC on November 02, 2011:

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?

koko on October 16, 2011:

i love it just kidding i hate it

sam on October 15, 2011:

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.

naomi on October 04, 2011:

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

Frency on October 02, 2011:

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 !!!

Alison on September 26, 2011:

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

sid on September 25, 2011:

this sounds yum and delicious

Tina on September 21, 2011:

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

LoveCakes on September 21, 2011:

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

kehkashan on September 19, 2011:

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

Remy Francis from Dubai on September 17, 2011:

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!

titiu on September 10, 2011:

nice cake

janit on September 03, 2011:

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

Deborah on August 21, 2011:

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.

den on August 16, 2011:

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

danielle on August 09, 2011:

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

yup on June 02, 2011:

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

Nick King on April 13, 2011:

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

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

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

sophie on March 16, 2011:

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.

buddy123:) on February 28, 2011:

It was amazingg:)everybody loved it!

zuhaank@yahoo.com on February 27, 2011:

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

beergal on February 26, 2011:

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.

hallema on February 23, 2011:

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

leighann on February 22, 2011:

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

leighann on February 22, 2011:

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

chelsea on February 20, 2011:

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

Smitha on February 20, 2011:

It was very good.My daughter like it

Valerie on February 17, 2011:

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 :)

iyhene on February 12, 2011:

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.

anj on February 08, 2011:

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

kudzi on January 31, 2011:

will try it

Ria on January 22, 2011:

Hi,

I will like to try your recipe:D

Thanks :)

alix on January 18, 2011:

yummy

Tristen on January 17, 2011:

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

Angela on January 17, 2011:

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.

Tristen on January 16, 2011:

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

Ryan on January 15, 2011:

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.

Ryan on January 14, 2011:

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

Julie Logan from U.S.A. on January 07, 2011:

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.

ajay tyagi on December 31, 2010:

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.....

Anya on December 25, 2010:

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!

Melanie on December 25, 2010:

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!

Joe on December 24, 2010:

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.

Sarah on December 22, 2010:

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

Su on November 20, 2010:

Can I reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup?

Carrie on November 19, 2010:

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 :)

Agnes on November 06, 2010:

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

sheetal on October 22, 2010:

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

Ayesha on October 17, 2010:

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

Ann on October 16, 2010:

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.

Queeny on October 16, 2010:

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

George Oommen on October 13, 2010:

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

Alvina ( Singapore ) on October 12, 2010:

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 (author) from Around the USA on October 06, 2010:

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

DUCK2 on October 05, 2010:

It is the best cake ive ever tasted!:D

Angela Harris (author) from Around the USA on October 04, 2010:

Mr4XTrading3, thanks!

Gill on October 03, 2010:

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

Madeleine on October 03, 2010:

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 on October 02, 2010:

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

Angela Harris (author) from Around the USA on September 21, 2010:

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.

Mark on September 16, 2010:

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

Valerie on September 11, 2010:

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!

TamTam on September 07, 2010:

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

Gladys Matemu on September 06, 2010:

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