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Simple Sponge Cake Recipe

Simple Sponge Cake is made with only a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. This sponge cake is commonly used to make layered cakes but can be used as-is as well. Perfectly soft, spongy, and delicious!

You might also like to check out a Chocolate Version of this Sponge cake.

Simple yellow sponge cake on a cooling rack next to a baking sheet.

A Simple Sponge Cake recipe that any baker new to baking or not needs to have in their recipe repertoire. This cake was one of the first Yellow Sponge Cake recipes that I learned to make, and it has served me very well.  It is used in many of my cake recipes. Well-loved for its beautiful texture, simplicity in making, and foolproof instructions. 

What is a sponge cake?

A sponge cake is a delicate, spongy cake with a uniform crumb that is made with eggs, sugar, and flour as the main ingredients. The cake absorbs the moisture from the cream very well, making it suitable for just about any kind of cake or a roll. See the bottom of the post for a variety of cakes to make with this fluffy cake.

Pro Tips for the best sponge cake

  • Make sure to whip the eggs well. The cake relies mostly on the volume of the eggs for the fluffiness, so whipping the eggs until a thick ribbon flows off the whisk and doesn’t disappear for 2-3 seconds is very important. Not whipping the eggs enough not only will yield a dense cake but will also give off an eggy taste in the finished product.
  • Sift the dry ingredients before adding to the whipped eggs as this ensures there are no clumps of flour in the finished cake. Sifting also aerates the flour which will give you a light and fluffy sponge cake.
  • Do not overfold – folding too aggressively or too much will deflate the cake and will yield a denser cake. So, fold carefully to preserve the aeration built by whipping the eggs.
  • Even rise – for an even rise of the cake, make sure to use baking strips (like the ones here). These strips are wet & fastened around the baking pan before baking, ensuring that the cake cooks from the bottom up, instead of from the bottom and the sides. This prevents the formation of an unsightly dome on the baked cakes.
  • Do not overbake – or too much moisture will be lost and the sponge cake will be dry.

Also, try this Chocolate version of the sponge cake.

How to Make a Simple Sponge Cake:

Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe card with many important details:

Yield: One 8″ round cake, 2 inches tall

  • Whip 4 eggs in a stand mixer until foamy, then gradually add 1cup sugar and continue whipping until the eggs fall off the whisk in a thick ribbon (~20 min).
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches tall) lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Or brush the inside of the pan with softened butter and dust with flour. Shake out excess. Fasten wet cake strips around the cake pan.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (flour & baking powder).
  • Combine all wet ingredients (melted butter, water, vanilla).
  • Fold the dry ingredients in halves, carefully forming a number 8 with your movements.
  • Fold in the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Sponge Cake Step by step pictures
  • Bake the cake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
How to check the baked yellow sponge cake for readiness with a toothpick.
  • For best results, leave the cake on the counter for 6-8 hours before using it in a cake. This will reduce the amount of crumbling when you go ahead to split the cake layer in two horizontally.

Use the this sponge cake to make any of these cakes below:

Desserts using this Sponge Cake Recipe:

  • Marble Cake  – delicious marbled cake filled with fluffy sour cream frosting, sour cherries and walnuts.
  • Kyiv Cakelayers of sponge cake, crispy meringe, nuts & delicious dulce de lechde buttercream.
  • Tiramisu Cakeclassic cake made with sponge cake soaked with spiked coffees syrup & layered with fluffy cream cheese based cream .
  • Rum Balls  –  crumbled sponge cake mixed with dulce de leche buttercream, rum & nuts, then rolled into balls & coated in cocoa.
  • Walnut Cake with Coffee Frosting  – sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, sprinkled with nuts & layered with cream cheese frosting. 
  • Peaches and Cream Cake –  light cake made with peach syrup soaked sponge cake, peaches and cream.

Simple Sponge Cake Recipe

4.8 from 155 votes

Simple Sponge Cake is made with only a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. This cake is commonly used to make layered cakes.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Keyword: sponge cake, yellow sponge cake
Calories: 146 kcal
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 or One 8″ round cake, 2 inches tall

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Liquids

Instructions

  1. Whip eggs and sugar: Whip 4 eggs in a stand mixer on high speed until foamy (~2 min) then gradually add 1 cup of granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whip. Then, whip until the mixture falls off the whisk in a thick ribbon that doesn't disappear for 1-2 seconds (~20 min; or more if using a hand mixer).

  2. Prep: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F with the rack centered.

    Line an 8-inch round cake pan (at least 2" tall) lined with foil or parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Alternatively, you can brush room temperature butter on the inside of the pan, then dust it with flour, knocking out the excess to make the surface non-stick.

  3. Optional: Fasten the wet baking strips around the baking pan for an evenly risen cake (optional). The baking strips ensure that the cake rises evenly and doesn't form a dome.

  4. Sift dry ingredients: Sift 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 tsp baking powder, twice.

  5. Mix liquids: In a cup whisk together 2 TBSP melted butter, 1 TBSP hot water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

  6. Fold in dry ingredients: add the dry ingredients into the whipped eggs in halves, carefully folding with a spatula forming the number 8 with each stroke. Do not overfold or the cake will be dense and doughy. Just fold enough to barely incorporate the flour.

  7. Next, Fold in the liquids and carefully keep folding the batter until thoroughly incorporated. Do not overmix or the cake will be dense.

  8. Bake: Pour the sponge cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not open the oven to check until you can smell cake in the kitchen (~30 min).

  9. Remove the sponge cake to a cooling rack and allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then invert it onto a cooling rack and remove the foil or parchment. Allow to completely cool before using.

  10. Let rest: For best results wrap the cooled cake in plastic and leave on the counter for 6-8 hours before using in a cake. This will reduce the amount of crumbling when you split the cake layer in two horizontally.

  11. How to split the cake in two horizontally: place the palm of your non-dominant hand over the top of the cake and keep rotating it as you, use your dominant hand to hold a long serrated knife, and start scoring the outside of the cake, about 1/2 inch deep, going all around the cake. Continue going in circles scoring deeper and deeper until you get to the center.

    The easiest method: attach these two cake leveler pieces on two opposing ends of the knife blade, then just cut the cake horizontally by moving the knife back and forth in a back and forth motion while keeping the knife perpendicular to the surface. The levelers will ensure that the knife stays level all throughout the cutting.

Recipe Notes

The amount of ingredients listed is enough to make a 12″x18″ sponge cake for a cake roll.

Just line a 12″x18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then use tiny amount of sponge cake batter under the 4 corners of parchment paper to keep it in place. 
Even out the batter over the baking sheet. 
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts
Simple Sponge Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 146 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 47mg2%
Potassium 73mg2%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 170IU3%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Updated 8/15/2021

Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • JLA

    Oh wow, this is my new favorite for less ingredients and quick one.
    Thank you very much, mine bake and taste perfectly.. I love it.

    · Reply
  • Rebecca

    Terrible. The worst cake I have ever made. The texture is like bread and I followed the recipe word for word. Save your money and ingredients – don’t make this monstrosity.

    · Reply
    • Hi Rebecca,
      Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you 🙁

      From your description it sounds like you didn’t whip the eggs to proper consistency and folded the flour into the whipped eggs for too long, which will give you dense and heavy cake.

      · Reply
  • REBEKAH

    WOW I must try this recipe it seems really good

    · Reply
  • Anna

    I always bake your chocolate sponge recipe and it turns out perfect. Ive tried this recipe four times and each time the top of the cake get crispy and when I cut it in half, the top falls off. I bake it for 35 min (180). What an I doing wrong?

    · Reply
    • Hi Anna,
      Are you using the convection setting for this cake? could it be that you’re setting the baking rack too high in the oven so the cake top browns before the rest of the cake has had the chance to bake through? Also, have you checked to see if the 180F that you set your oven for is actually 180C? Sometimes the ovens run hot so you’ll need to turn the oven temp to a lower temp to compensate. Just a few ideas to explore.

      · Reply
  • Morade

    Please may I know what you mean by…Sift dry ingredients Twice……….. Do you mean I should add the same quantity twice

    · Reply
  • thanks for your impressive post..

    · Reply
  • La Posies

    I love your sponge bread recipe, i am fond of desserts and you always tell me recipe related it. I always order cake in India from my favourite shop but now i try it at my home. Thank you!

    · Reply
  • sarah

    this is like the best cake ever, seriously i want to marry it.

    · Reply
  • eunicemh.mse@gmail.com

    Waiting to try it out

    · Reply
  • I looks amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    · Reply
  • Cay Baker

    Followed directions to the letter. Unfortunately, it sank after 30+ Minutes in the oven. I guess it needed more time before I checked it. I might make the recipe again and let it bake for roughly 40 minutes before opening the oven to check.

    · Reply
    • Hi Cay Baker, have you tried to see if your oven runs cold? To check, you’d preheat your oven for about 45 minutes and leave a thermometer inside (oven-safe) and check if the temperature you set it for (350F for example) is the same temp that reads on the thermometer. If the temperature is lower on the thermometer than that you set it for, then you can adjust future baking temp to compensate for the difference.

      Typically, I don’t check the oven until I can smell the cake in the kitchen. I know, this is not a sciency way of checking but it usually doesn’t fail. Once you smell the cake in the kitchen, you should be ok to open the oven and check.

      · Reply
    • I baked today. It was fantastic. Right temperature is very essential.Don’t open your oven too soon. Pat your cake after 30/35 minutes in the oven. If it springs back. It’s done. Baking it much will make it dry. Hope it will help.

      It was a quick & a very uncomplicated recipe. Thanks for sharing!

      · Reply
  • LISSA

    What recipe you followed guys?
    The first one written at the top or the last pne which has the list of ingredients on it?

    PLEASE I NEED TO KNOW YOUR COMMENTS FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO MAKE SPONGE CAKE. THANK YOU.

    · Reply
    • Both are the same recipe. The recipe card at the bottom has all the details you need to make it. The one up top is a summary.

      · Reply
  • Marta

    What a disgusting cake!
    All I taste is egg!
    By far the worst cake making procedure I’ve ever followed

    · Reply
    • Hi Marta, thanks for your feedback. Sounds like you under whipped your eggs which will cause it to taste like a sweetened omelet. I you try it again make sure to follow the directions and whip until the ribbon of whipped eggs and sugar doesn’t disappear for several seconds.

      · Reply
  • Naza

    Foolproof recipe! Every time I use this recipe I tell myself to drop you a thank you line and keep forgetting. Not today! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes.

    · Reply
  • Belinda louise Shallcross

    Is that one cup of flour in 2 halves or 2 cups of flour? Thanks

    · Reply
  • Bobby de los Bobs

    Loved the cake thx

    Xxx

    · Reply
  • Presley

    I made a cake using your recipe..it was great

    · Reply
  • Suan Tonsing

    I love the simplicity and the ease for this recipe.

    Tried it and love the taste.

    It will be my go to recipe I’m sure.

    · Reply
  • My sponge fell what would cause that?

    · Reply
  • Shelly

    I think this will be my favorite recipe for sponge, all others were massive flops…

    · Reply
  • I made this sponge cake recipe for Christmas where all my friends tried and really enjoyed eating. Their appreciation made me so happy that I want to thank you a thousand times.

    · Reply
  • Looks good

    · Reply
  • Happy

    I make the cake following the steps, wow it came out soft and delicious

    · Reply
  • Melissa

    Hi! Wondering if I can double the recipe to make 2 cakes at once, or if I should make them separately? Thank you!

    · Reply
    • You can double the recipe and bake it at once, but it tends to come out heavier. It is best to double the recipe and still bake it in two separate pans.

      · Reply
  • Carlos Lara

    In your Genoise recipe, should I use salted or unsalted butter??

    · Reply
  • Angeline King Jimice

    Please I’m really interested in your recipe,and i like your cakes

    · Reply
  • Michelle

    I just tried this recipe for my brother birthday but for some reason it’s gone lumpy and not baking even though I followed the recipe step by step

    · Reply
    • Could you clarify what you mean by “lumpy” and “not baking”?

      May be I can help you troubleshoot so that next experience is better?

      · Reply
  • Niamh

    I love it

    · Reply
  • gift

    Lovely work!! Charming one

    · Reply
  • Najla Nazar

    Literally the best sponge cake i have ever made! Thank you for this!!

    · Reply
    • Love hearing that, Najla! Thank you for sharing!

      · Reply
      • Neha Khot

        Something went wrong, it didn’t cook at all in 20 minutes, I kept it for another 10 and still it was watery and then another 15, this time it was done, but it came to chewy and hard

        · Reply
        • Sounds like it did 🙁 The directions say to bake it for 30 minutes, not 20. It says not to open the oven any earlier than 20 minutes.

          If after 30 minutes it was watery and after 45 it was chewy, it sounds like the eggs weren’t whipped enough. Next time keep whipping the eggs with sugar until the mixture doesn’t flow off of the whisk in a ribbon that doesn’t disappear for several seconds. The whipping is what gives us the airy cake texture and not a rubbery, sweet omelet. Hope this helps!

          · Reply
          • Charlotte Tweddle

            I’m in the UK and so was going to go metric. I don’t understand why the sugar and flour both say 1 cup, yet when you change to metric the grams aren’t the same. I did a cup of each (which when i googled what a cup was it advised 128g). The cake was rubbery and sank in the middle, although the flavour was lovely. Where have a gone wrong?

          • Hi Charlotte Tweddle,
            The weight of sugar and flour are different when weighed as the sugar is a lot heavier than flour.
            If the cake was rubbery, it means that not enough air was whipped into the eggs before mixing in the flour. Next time, whip the egg whites longer. Also, if it sank in the middle it could be that it was removed from the oven a bit too early and the center didn’t get a chance to bake through. Next time, bake it until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  • Anthony

    My cake looked perfect but I thought it wasn’t soft or moist enough. Not sure if I baked too long (30 mins @ 350°F) or perhaps I didn’t fold the flour into the mixture well enough?

    · Reply
    • Hi Anthony,
      sponge cakes like this one are not meant to be as moist as regular American yellow cake or chocolate cake let’s say. This is a different type of cake that isn’t supposed to have too much moistness. It is often used in combination with creams, which will yield their moisture into the cake. Your bake time doesn’t seem to be too long, so I don’t think you overbaked it.
      Hope this helps!

      · Reply

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