This is the best moist sponge cake recipe that every home baker needs. Trust me, this is hands down the best sponge cake recipe that you will ever make! This trustworthy and reliable moist sponge cake recipe is the perfect base, and once you have mastered it, you can adapt the flavors and make so many delicious desserts.
🌟Why this is the best recipe
- Professional results - This is a professional sponge cake recipe adapted for a home kitchen and explained in step-by-step directions. It sits somewhere in between traditional sponge cake and chiffon cake, with all the benefits of both.
- Simple method - Whilst it looks and tastes impressive, it is actually surprisingly easy to make! Even beginner bakers can master this moist sponge cake recipe.
- Basic ingredients and equipment - You will not need any fancy pieces of kit to bake this super moist cake; all the ingredients are the basics from the pantry. You can then use it in so many ways, like this Victoria sponge cake recipe.
📝 Ingredient notes
The ingredients for the best moist sponge cake recipe are very simple, but be sure to read my detailed notes to get the best from your baking.
- Cooking oil - Butter-based sponge cakes tend to firm up in the fridge - oil is what keeps a sponge cake moist. A moist sponge cake recipe with oil is your safest bet for a soft and tender cake. Use good quality vegetable oil that is neutral in taste.
- White granulated sugar - Superfine sugar (sometimes called caster sugar) is the best sugar for moist sponge cake recipes, but regular granulated white sugar can work fine too.
- Egg yolks - For the fluffiest sponge, rather than using whole eggs, I recommend separating the eggs and incorporating them into the batter as directed in my recipe below. Always use room-temperature eggs in baking.
- Egg whites - Egg whites are the leavening agent in this cake; there is no baking powder or baking soda! Whipped egg whites trap air bubbles inside them, so making a meringue to fold into the cake batter gives us a super light and airy sponge cake.
- Milk - I use whole milk in this easy sponge cake recipe. Take it out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature before you begin baking.
- Flour - All-purpose flour or cake flour makes the best cakes. They are so-called “soft flours,” which are lower in protein, resulting in a delicate, tender texture. Read more about the best flour to use in cakes and baking.
Why there is no baking powder or baking soda in the recipe? The air that you whip into the egg is the actual rising agent, no need for baking powder, the cake will bake very even without it.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
This is hands down the best sponge cake with oil! A fluffy vanilla sponge cake recipe that is an excellent base to learn that you can adapt to your own personal preference. Perfect sponge cake awaits!
1. How to make moist sponge cake
- Preheat the oven to 170C / 338F (no fan) and line your cake pan with parchment paper.
- Use an electric hand mixer to beat the egg yolk and half of the sugar until pale, creamy, and fluffy. Then add the vanilla extraxt.
- Add in the oil and milk just until combined; do not overmix.
- Whip egg whites on low speed in your stand mixer and add the rest of the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed and whip for about 5 minutes until the meringue is white and glossy. Stop before the meringue becomes stiff!
- While the mixer is on, sift the cake flour into the bowl of the egg yolk mixture, then gently fold it in with a rubber spatula just until combined; do not overmix.
- Use a Rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the flour egg yolk sugar mixture. Start with ¼ of the whipped egg white mixture to loosen it, and then very gently fold the rest of the egg white in.
💡 Top Tip: Do not overbeat the egg whites mixture into a super hard meringue, as that is a difficult texture to fold with the rest of the ingredients. Aim for 'early stiff peaks'.
2. How to bake sponge cake
- Pour the sponge cake batter into the prepared 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan.
- Bake the cake in your preheated oven at 170 C / 338 F for approximately 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not open the oven at all for the first 45 minutes.
- Flip the sponge cake upside down and let it completely cool on a Cooling rack.
- This 3 egg sponge cake recipe is tall, so it can be sliced horizontally into pieces to make a 2 or 3-tier cake.
💡 Top Tip: The top of the cake will feel springy to the touch when it is fully baked, and the sides will start to pull away from the edges of the pan. An inserted toothpick will come out clean and with no sticky batter on it.
❄️ Storage and Freezing
Once the sponge cake is baked, let it completely cool before using it to make any layered cake. If you do not need it immediately, cover it with foil and store it for 2-3 days in the fridge. It will not harden like sponge cakes made with butter.
Sponge cake will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To freeze sponge cake, first, wait until it cools to room temperature. Then, double wrap in plastic food wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Defrost in the fridge or at room temperature thoroughly before use.
📚 Flavor Variations and Substitutions
This easy, moist sponge cake recipe can be made into a two or three-tiered cake. Try spreading it with homemade lemon curd, cream cheese cheese frosting or whipped chocolate ganache frosting for a delicious dessert. Or, this simple sponge cake tastes amazing with just whipped cream and fresh fruit.
This round-up of the best layer cake recipes will give you some inspiration on how to use a sponge cake! If you are baking around a dietary restriction or preference, check out my baking guides first to make the best swaps and check your conversions.
🥣 Equipment notes
Always weigh ingredients on a Digital scale for precision, and do not rely on measuring by volume e.g. the cup system.
I highly recommend getting to know your own oven. Invest in a Digital oven thermometer to check you are baking at the right temperature every time, as it is not uncommon for non-professional ovens to have a 16C / 60F difference between what the display says and what the actual temperature is. Even this small difference in temperature can have a big impact! It could mean an extra 10-15 minutes of baking time.
Combine ingredients using an Electric hand mixer, a Rubber spatula, and a Stand mixer. Always use the right tools to mix cake batters; baking is a science, and all the instructions need to be done a certain way to achieve the right results.
Choose a straight-sided 6-inch cake pan that has a 3-inch height (for a nice tall cake) in stainless steel or aluminum. It is essential to use a pan with straight sides to bake the perfect, uniform, moist vanilla cake recipe with oil. Check my cake pan sizes conversion for larger or smaller cakes.
Allow the cake to come back down to room temperature on a wire cooling rack.
Wondering how to bake the best sponge cake from scratch that does not dome? Use a cake pan strip! It cools the edges in order to avoid high-rise centers. It prevents the outside of the cake from heating up too quickly as it provides a cooling effect.
📖 How to make a homemade cake strip
You can make your own cooling cake strip so easily! Fold a piece of kitchen paper into thirds and then dip it into water to dampen it. Wrap the wet kitchen paper in aluminum foil, and then wrap it around your cake pan.
On a side note, I do actually like it when the edges of a sponge cake caramelize a tiny bit, so I usually remove the strip after ¾ of the baking time. But this is completely optional. And strictly do not open the oven door any sooner than this whilst baking the fluffy sponge cake recipe.
🎓 Expert Tips
- All the best sponge cake recipes use ingredients that are at room temperature before baking (eggs, milk, etc). This allows for proper emulsification of ingredients in this moist sponge cake recipe.
- Take care not to get any egg yolk into the egg whites when you separate eggs, or the whites won't whip properly.
- Make all of the components in this cake batter fresh and bake it immediately; it can dry out otherwise.
- Having too much cake batter in a pan that isn't big enough can cause doming and cracking. Check my equipment notes to bake in the right size pan.
- Sponge cake is very sensitive to temperature change, so do not open the oven door during the first 45 minutes of baking, as oven temperature fluctuation can cause issues with the cake.
- Every oven behaves differently, so you may need to adjust the baking time. A toothpick will come out clean when inserted into the sponge if it is fully baked.
- Cool the sponge cake upside down to prevent the cake from sinking. Flipping it upside down ensures that it doesn’t collapse during the cooling process.
- Brushing the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil before lining it with parchment paper can help you to release the cake from the cake pan.
- The moist sponge cake texture will properly set as it cools down, so do not attempt to cut whilst it is hot.
This is quite a runny cake batter, so springform cake pans might not be the most appropriate ones to use. Also, the side of the cake pan must be absolutely straight in order to bake a neat, straight vanilla moist sponge cake recipe.
No, cake flour is even finer and has a lower protein content than pastry flour. Cake flour will give you a lovely light and fluffy sponge cake. Alternatively, use all purpose flour.
It could be due to an incorrect ratio of ingredients, an inappropriate mixing technique, or it could be over-baked. Weigh ingredients by the gram using a digital scale and I highly recommend using an oven thermometer to check the temperature before baking.
A sunken cake is almost always due to it being underbaked in the center, which could be down to oven temperature, baking time or other issues. Check this guide to why your cake sank to learn more.
Using oil instead of butter in my easy moist sponge cake recipe helps to keep it super moist as butter can harden over time. Butter is also partly water, which evaporates during baking. Oil is 100% fat, which ensures a more tender texture.
🍰 How To Use This Sponge Cake Recipe
The Best Moist Sponge Cake Recipe
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.
- Preheat oven to 170 C / 338 F (no fan) and bring all the cake ingredients to room temperature.
- Prepare a 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan lined with parchment paper inside and a cake strip around.
- Whip together the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and half of the sugar (75 g) with an electric hand mixer in a mixing bowl for at least 5 minutes until very pale, creamy, and fluffy.
- Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients; oil and milk, just until combined.
- Sift the flour, and then gently fold it into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula just until combined, do not overmix
- Whip the egg whites starting on low speed in your Stand mixer while adding the rest of the sugar (75 g), one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed and whip for about 5 minutes until glossy, and the sugar is completely dissolved. Stop before the meringue is overwhipped into stiff peaks.
- Use a Rubber spatula to gently fold the whipped egg whites mixture into the flour and egg yolk mixture. Loosen it up first by adding ¼ of the whipped egg whites, and then very gently fold the rest of the egg whites in.
- Pour the moist sponge cake batter into the prepared 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan.
- Bake for approx. 60 minutes, and do not open the oven door in the first 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Flip the sponge cake upside down and let it completely cool on a wire Cooling rack
- Use according to your chosen cake recipe.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin baking this moist sponge cake recipe.
- Take care when separating your egg yolks and egg whites so that no yolk gets into the whites or they won't whip properly.
- You can use all-purpose flour in place of cake flour if this is hard for you to get hold of.
- Always weigh your ingredients by the gram using a digital scale for precision.
- Ovens can vary, so use an oven thermometer to always bake at the right temperature.
- Each oven is different so you might need to adjust the baking time slightly, but in my oven, this cake takes 60 minutes. Use the toothpick test to ensure your cake is fully baked.
- The sponge cake texture will further set as it cools, do not attempt to cut whilst it is hot.
- This sponge will be tall, so it can be used either as a 2-tier or 3-tier cake.