Tender, moist, tall sponge cake full baking guide

by admin
Sponge Cake

Having a trusted sponge cake recipe is absolutely essential for a home baker and with the help of one – typically vanilla – base recipe it is easy to make plenty of other versions such as chocolate cake, walnut cake, coconut cake etc.

There are countless types of sponge cake recipes that exist, each has its own characteristics. It took me quite a while to test and try different ingredients, techniques, baking temperatures, baking pans and figure out the sponge cake I prefer. To get this straight upfront, I ended up somewhere in between traditional butter cake and chiffon, that has the benefit of both.

If you want an airy, tall, delicious, fluffy, tender, rich, moist yet strong which able to hold its shape and easy frost type of sponge cake recipe, then you found THE one!

Sponge Cake

First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of this sponge cake recipe

  • read the recipe carefully
  • avoid using substitutes unless aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavours
  • measure your ingredients with the help of a digital kitchen scale

1. Eggs

Majority of the recipes call for beating whole eggs with sugar, however for the fluffiest really sponge like result I do recommend to beat the egg white separately into a meringue like texture then gently fold it into the mixture. Eggs must be room temperature as always.

2. Sugar

If you haven’t read my Guide about the different types of sugar and their function in baking, head over here. In this recipe I use superfine sugar, granulated works well too.

3. Flour

I use pastry flour and if you are wondering about the different types of flour and want to learn how and when to use them, check my flour Guide out in here. There is no need to use self-raising flour in this recipe, in fact I would avoid using it, please see reasons below.
Sponge Cake ingredients

4. Baking powder or baking soda

Actually none of these! Believe me, if you beat your egg yolk for min. 8-10 minutes until very pale and fluffy, in the meantime beat your egg white separately until shiny, stiff peaks, there is no need for extra rising agent in the recipe. It won’t get grainy, it won’t get heavy, in fact it will rise more evenly and definitely won’t crack on the top. You will manage to bake a 15 cm (6 inch) wide, 7 cm (3 inch) tall sponge cake with my recipe.

5. Milk

I use whole milk, room temperature as always. Some recipes use sour cream which I also really like in certain circumstances but not in this recipe.

6. Butter

No butter, but oil! The biggest issue I’ve had with traditional butter based cakes is that they tend to firm up in the fridge and I like my cake soft and tender. The oil not only adds moisture to the cake, but it coats the flour which prevents gluten formation therefore the cake will get super tender even straight out of the fridge, how cool is that? Having said that, where structural integrity is the priority, like in case of a huge wedding cake, perhaps butter is a better option. Other than that I always use oil based sponge whenever the cake needs to be refrigerated but not for loaf cake e.g. lemon drizzle which is stored on room temperature.

Now let’s continue with some further important notes regarding the equipment of making this sponge cake recipe

1. Cake pan

I already mentioned a couple of recommendations in my 7 baking pans every baker needs article, please head over there if you haven’t read it so far. To recap, there are 3 key considerations when choosing the right cake pan: size, side, material. Regarding the size, I am using a rather small (15 cm=6 inch) diameter but tall (7 cm=3 inch) cake pan which is enough to make a tall sponge cake for a 2 layered cake and size wise more than enough for a small family. The side of the cake pan must be absolutely straight in order to bake a straight sponge. In regards to the material, I recommend stainless steel or aluminium, however the cake pan preparation is very important in case of both.

2. Cake pan preparation

That is a whole topic on its own and the right preparation depends on the type of cake and/or pan however with this type of cake and cake pan I use the following: With the help of a pastry brush, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. The oil only needed for the parchment to stick to the pan. What I love about this pan preparation is that even though it is a rather tall sponge cake with the help of the parchment paper it is incredible easy to release the cake from the pan.
Sponge Cake ingredients

3. Cake pan strips

Cake pan strips is one of the biggest hack in baking, I came across them a few years ago and it works like charm. Why use it? Read what Wilton has to say about their cake strips, could not agree more! “Say goodbye to high-rise centers, cracked tops and over-cooked cake edges. Just dampen Bake Even strips and wrap around the pan before baking. The moisture in the strips keeps the edges of the pan cooler for perfectly level and deliciously moist cakes—every time!”
Sponge Cake methods
I recommend to ideally purchase the Wilton cake strips or make your own using paper towel and kitchen foil. I dump the home made strip into water the same way as Wilton explains and it works just just fine. One side note is that I actually like if the sponge cake edge caramelises a tiny bit so I usually remove the strip 3/4 of the baking time, but you really don’t have to and strictly do not open the oven door before 3/4 of the baking time. The key is to use some sort of cooling the edge method in order to avoid high rise centers.
Sponge Cake methods

4. Rubber spatula

Rubber spatula is really a must I think for a Baker at any level. Whenever a recipe states “folding” we mean “with a rubber spatula” to avoid breaking the batter. This method is extremely important while handling sponge cake or meringue and really the one and only technique you should practise and learn which will make or break the success of your sponge.

5. Oven temperature

Two consideration, regarding oven temperature; First one is the temperature on paper, if it’s too low, it wont’t bake especially this rather tall type sponge however if the oven temperature is too high, the sponge will rise too fast resulting in cracks on the top. I find the ideal oven temperature is 170C / 338F for this recipe. Second consideration is your REAL oven temperature, what do I mean on that? Check my oven for example:
Sponge Cake methods
16C / 60F difference is huge (and not unusual), it results in an increasing baking time of an extra 10-15 minutes. I can not highlight enough how important to get to know your own oven and purchase an inexpensive digital oven thermometer. It might not solve all the problem in the world but certainly will increase the chances to become a more successful home baker.

How to use this sponge cake recipe?

Check out my strawberry cake recipe

Victoria sponge cake

Now that we went through on the key success factors, let’s see the recipe of this sponge cake!

Sponge Cake

Sponge cake recipe

5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Baking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 2223kcal


  • 3 Eggs room temperature yolk and white separately
  • 150 g Granulated sugar
  • 2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract pure
  • 100 g Whole milk room temperature
  • 80 ml Vegetable oil
  • 190 g Pastry flour

US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.


  • Pre-heat oven to 170 C / 338 F
  • Prepare Rubber spatula as per point 2 above
  • Prepare Wilton cake strip as per point 3 above
  • Beat together egg yolk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar (75 g) for at least 8-10 minutes until very pale, creamy and fluffy
  • Beat in the rest of the wet ingredients; oil and milk (room temperature)
  • Sift in flour then gently fold it in with a Rubber spatula just until combined, do not overmix
  • Whip egg whites starting on low speed on your Stand mixer while adding the rest of the sugar (75 g), one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed and whip for about 10 minutes until stiff and glossy and the sugar completely dissolves
  • With the help of a Rubber spatula gently fold the egg whites into the flour egg yolk sugar mixture. Since the flour mixture is quite thick it's worth first to loosen it up by 1/4 of the whipped egg white mixture then very gently fold the rest of the egg white in
  • Pour the batter into the prepared 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan
  • Bake for approx. 60 minutes. Do not open the oven door in the first 45 minutes
  • Flip the sponge cake upside down and let it completely cool on a Cooling rack
  • Use according to cake recipe. This sponge will be rather tall so can be used either as a 2 tier or 3 tier cake


Calories: 2223kcal | Carbohydrates: 293g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 105g | Saturated Fat: 75g | Cholesterol: 501mg | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 157g | Vitamin A: 875IU | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @spatuladesserts or tag #spatuladesserts would love to see your creation on Instagram!


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Tender, moist, tall sponge cake full baking guide

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Hannah Baker July 4, 2020 - 11:09 am

5 stars
I’m part of an instagram baking group started by this wonderful lady, and I thought I’d give one of her recipes a go, and let me tell you, this recipe is great! The sponge is super light and soft and rises great, you really don’t need self raising flour. The baking guide is amazing, even reading it as a fairly experienced baker it was useful, so if you’re new to baking definitely read that; the cake strips have changed my life.

admin July 4, 2020 - 9:35 pm

Thanks so much for your feedback I am so happy you find my recipe nice and useful at the same time!

Katy July 13, 2020 - 1:25 pm

5 stars
Great recipe! If I was to substitute the oil for butter for a more firm cake, how much would I need? :)

admin July 19, 2020 - 8:25 pm

Thanks for your comment. Substituting always means complete reformulation, I can`t give you a simple figure:) If you want butter based sponge pls check my rainbow cake and use that recipe leaving out the colouring.

Sharon August 15, 2020 - 1:31 pm

My plain flour is 9% protein – do you think it would be as good as the pastry flour?

admin August 16, 2020 - 6:37 pm

Yes that should be fine, have you seen my article about the different kinds of flour? I have a useful summary table in there :) https://www.spatuladesserts.com/the-different-types-of-flour-and-how-to-use-them-in-baking/

Hazel Millar August 20, 2020 - 12:13 am

Hello. I’d love to try your sponge but I only have 7” tins. How would you upscale from 6” to 7” ingredients wise? Thanks.

admin August 20, 2020 - 4:18 pm

Honestly, I think it is easier to do the same recipe and accept that it will be not that tall. You can of course always try to increase all the ingredients by 20% and see but baking it in a bigger pan will require longer baking time and increases the risk that the middle won’t bake. Just make sure you follow the ratios in the recipe and you should be fine :)

Debbie August 29, 2020 - 12:51 pm

5 stars
I made this cake and it is delicious
I have never made any cake without butter and this is the best cake ever

admin August 29, 2020 - 6:03 pm

So happy to hear that you liked my sponge cake. Baking with oil is so easy and the best thing is that the cake stays moist and soft even straight out of the fridge:)

Menti August 31, 2020 - 12:51 pm

5 stars
I was skeptical about trying this recipe because I wanted to add cocoa powder too. But it worked! My Grandma said this is the most even cake she ever saw,best textured cake with a balanced taste of all the ingredients. I couldn’t agree more.

admin September 2, 2020 - 6:38 pm

Kisses to your Grandma, thanks for your feedback:)!

Rabbatul bait September 19, 2020 - 2:09 pm

5 stars
Just the recipe I was in search of!! Thank you so much. Super soft, spongy and moist cake. Will surely try some of your other recipea.

admin September 19, 2020 - 2:11 pm

Thanks a lot for your kind feedback, can’t wait to see you making some of my other recipes too!

Christina October 7, 2020 - 8:18 am

5 stars
The sponge cake came out tall, light, soft and moist. I used the sponge cake to make strawberries and cream cake and it was a crowd pleaser. The recipe is very easy to follow and I’ll definitely be using this recipe again!

Juanita October 8, 2020 - 7:02 pm

Can I do this recipe using a 20 x 30cm tin? Perhaps double the recipe?

admin October 8, 2020 - 7:44 pm

I would not bake it in such a huge baking pan, I image the sponge might collapse or takes forever to bake. If you do not own a tin I used but larger ones, I suggest to double the recipe and use 2 baking pans

Bashir October 25, 2020 - 9:33 pm

I baked this cake today and unfortunately it’s come out dense and looks raw from the center when cut in half.
I followed the recipe as written. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was beating in the liquids to the yolk mix.
I poured the liquids down the side of the bowl with the mixer running.
Should I have done it by hand? I didn’t open the oven until the cake started coming away from the sides, about 65 minutes.
The whites were whisked until stiff and flour was sifted and folded gently by hand. I used plain/all purpose flour with protein % of 9.1.

admin October 26, 2020 - 9:32 am

Hey, sorry this did not turn out well for you. There can be a couple of issues I can think of
– ingredients were measured incorrectly, perhaps too much wet ingredients
– inappropriate folding technique
– underbaked due to incorrect oven temperature, I think this is the most likely one
– perhaps you used a larger tin and doubled the recipe? This is a very delicate sponge and I would not recommend to make bigger size than the one in the recipe. Anything bigger than 15cm would require a totally different baking time etc

Theresa October 26, 2020 - 9:10 am

Hello! I unfortunately do not have pastry flour, is it okay to use AP flour for this recipe?
Thank you

admin October 26, 2020 - 9:34 am

Please check the protein content of the flours in the supermarket and use one that is closest to the recommended pastry flour. This article might helps

Oyedele Titilayo November 17, 2020 - 8:10 pm

Hi, pls what other type of milk can i use other than whole milk? maybe evaporated full cream milk?. i’m from Nigeria. Thanks so much.

admin November 18, 2020 - 8:59 pm

Hey, I am not aware of your available options in Nigeria, sorry. I never used evaporated milk, not even sure what is that (only seen in American recipes). My best bet is to use the type of milk you would anyway use making cakes or cupcakes.

Mae February 6, 2021 - 6:53 am

5 stars
I always wanted to have a sponge cake that get tall and soft , and off course flat on top , and this time it was exactly what I wanted always , a very soft , moist and tasty sponge cake.


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