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How to Make a Basic Sponge Cake

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

Bake the perfect sponge cake with this simple recipe.

Bake the perfect sponge cake with this simple recipe.

Baking Sponge Cake Is a Piece of Cake!

I love eating plain sponge cake. No filling, frosting, or powdered sugar. When made correctly, sponge cakes are light, airy, and incredibly delicious! I've always purchased sponge cakes from the store, believing them too difficult to make at home. But I couldn't have been more wrong. My life changed when a friend showed me how to make my own sponge cake.

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!


  • 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


  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