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.

This sponge cake recipe is somewhere in between traditional butter sponge and chiffon, yet has the benefit of both and can be perfect base for your favourite layered cakes. If you want an airy, tall, delicious, fluffy, tender, moist yet strong sponge cake recipe that is easy to frost, you found it, look no further!

Sponge cake

My Top 5 General Baking Tips for home bakers

  1. Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking
  2. Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using milk instead of cream, using poor quality chocolate etc. will all have an impact on your baking
  3. For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
  4. Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
  5. Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts

My tips regarding the INGRDIENTS of this Tall Sponge cake recipe

  1. Oil: No butter, but oil! The biggest disappointment I often have 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 structure is the priority, like in case of a huge wedding cake, perhaps butter is a better option. Other than that, I tend to chose oil based sponge whenever the cake needs to be refrigerated
  2. Sugar: Superfine sugar is the most appropriate choice especially at the stage when beating egg white into meringue however granulated white sugar can work fine too. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
  3. Egg: Majority of the sponge cake 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 on room temperature as always
  4. Flour: All purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cakes. They are so called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in delicate, tender texture. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
  5. Baking powder / 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 the help of 3 eggs and using the right technique
  6. Milk: Use milk at room temp, I prefer whole milk
Sponge cake

8 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of baking Moist Sponge cake

1. How to make the perfect Sponge cake that is tall, moist and delicious

First and foremost make sure you prepare all the ingredients and bring them to room temp, also prepare the tools such as 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan, Rubber spatula, Wilton cake strip (if using). You will also have to preheat your oven at least 15-20 minutes ahead.

As for the sponge cake process, it is super easy and quick however worth to follow a few simple rules!

  • Beat together egg yolk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar (75 g) for at least 5 minutes until very pale, creamy and fluffy
  • Beat in the rest of the wet ingredients; oil and milk (room temperature)
  • 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 5-8 minutes until stiff and glossy and the sugar completely dissolves. The meringue texture should be sort of early stiff peaks but do not overbeat into super hard meringue as that is a difficult texture to fold with rest of the ingredients
  • While mixer is on preparing the meringue, sift flour into the egg yolk mixture then gently fold it in with a Rubber spatula just until combined, do not overmix. This mixture can get somewhat thick and can easily dry out so do not make it ahead.
  • 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
Sponge cake
Beat egg yolk & sugar until pale and creamy
Sponge cake
Whip egg white with sugar until glossy and stiff
Sponge cake
Pour cake butter into prepared baking pan

2. What cake pan to use to bake Sponge cake

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 or 3 layered cake and size wise more than enough for a 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, see my tips further down.

Can I make this sponge cake in a smaller pan? Yes, you can but you will need to adjust the quantity as well as baking time(decrease)

Can I make this sponge cake in a bigger pan? Theoretically yes you can, but since it is a very tall sponge cake, the larger the pan the bigger the risk than it won´t bake properly plus you will need to increase the quantity of the ingredients as well as the baking time. If want to make a larger size sponge cake eg. 8 inch + 20cm I suggest you bake 2 cakes instead

Sponge cake
15 cm / 6 inch cake pan + parchment paper + cake strip

3. How to easily release sponge cake from cake pan

The right cake pan preparation depends on the type of cake and/or pan and with this type of sponge 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 always incredible easy to release the cake from the pan. Make sure you do the cake pan preparation before starting to mix the ingredients!

Sponge cake
correct cake pan preparation

4. What is the baking temperature to make Sponge cake

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.

5. How to bake Sponge cake that does not dome

Cake pan strip 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 either 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. The key thing is to use some sort of cooling the edge method in order to avoid high rise centers.

On the side note, 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.

Sponge cake
Home made cake strip using paper towel and kitchen foil – dip it into water before using

6. How to further prevent Sponge cake from doming and cracking on top

As mentioned above doming and cracking is mainly the consequence of too high baking temp and / or the side of the cake heating up too quickly.

What is too high oven temp? Well, it depends on your oven and the size of your baking tin. In my oven using a 15 cm / 7 inch cake pan I recommend baking the sponge cake for about an hour at 170C / 338F.

Some other considerations to avoid cake from doming and cracking on top:

  1. Make sure you get to know your oven and fully aware of its temperature, purchase an inexpensive digital oven thermometer
  2. Make sure you use the right size baking tin. Having too much cake butter in a too small baking means your cake “does not fit” into the tin and can cause again doming and cracking
  3. My recipe does not state rising agent like baking powder because the eggs will be supporting the rise of the sponge however too much rising agent eg. baking powder can also cause the cake too quickly to rise and crack
  4. Last but not least, sponge cake is very sensitive to temperature change, please make sure you do not open the oven door during baking as oven temp fluctuation can also cause issues on the cake
Sponge cake

7. How to prevent Sponge cake from collapsing after baked

First and foremost, you have to make sure that the Sponge cake is well baked before taking it out of the oven as under-baked sponge will collapse on room temperature.

How to check whether the sponge is ready baked?

1. Check whether toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean

2. Check whether the sides of the cake starting to pull away from the pan

3.  Gently press the top of the cake, if the sponge springs back, it’s done

Pro Tip: You should cool the cake upside down just like an Angel Food cake (my recipe in here)! Until the cake is completely cooled, its structure hasn’t set fully. Flipping it upside down ensures that it doesn’t collapse during the cooling process. Once completely cooled, it should easily pop out of the cake tin if you have done the cake pan preparation correctly.

Sponge cake

8. How to use Sponge cake

This sponge cake is moist, fluffy, very spongy and can be the perfect base for your layered cakes! Use it either fresh the same day or cover in plastic foil and use within a few days. This sponge cake can be also frozen and used after defrosted like you would normally do.

The sponge can be cut horizontally into 2 or 3 depending on the cake you wish to make. I suggest you use a measuring tape and mark the side of the sponge with the help of the knife in order to cut it evenly.:

Victoria sponge cake
Victoria sponge cake

How to use this sponge cake

Check out my Victoria sponge cake recipe, a stunning yet easy strawberry cake that is made using this sponge cake or use it for your favorite layered cakes!

Victoria sponge cake
Sponge cake

RECIPE CARD – Sponge cake

Tall, moist, delicious sponge cake is the perfect base for your Layered cakes
4.87 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Baking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 274kcal

Ingredients

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

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.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 170 C / 338 F and bring all ingredients to room temp
  • Prepare a 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan with parchment paper inside and cake strip around
  • Beat together egg yolk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar (75 g) for at least 5 minutes until very pale, creamy and fluffy
  • Beat in the rest of the wet ingredients; oil and milk
  • 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 5-8 minutes until stiff and glossy and the sugar completely dissolves
  • With the help of a Rubber spatula gently fold egg whites into the flour egg yolk 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 or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 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

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @spatuladesserts or tag #spatuladesserts would love to see your creation on Instagram!

Tender, moist, tall Sponge cake full baking guide

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39 comments

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.

Reply
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!

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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? :)

Reply
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.

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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?

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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/

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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.

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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 :)

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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

Reply
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:)

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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.

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admin September 2, 2020 - 6:38 pm

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

Reply
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.

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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!

Reply
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!

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Juanita October 8, 2020 - 7:02 pm

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

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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

Reply
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.

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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

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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

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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
https://www.spatuladesserts.com/the-different-types-of-flour-and-how-to-use-them-in-baking/

Reply
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.

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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.

Reply
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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Darval Barton March 1, 2021 - 10:26 pm

5 stars
Yum

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Toyin Omotayo March 1, 2021 - 11:06 pm

No baking powder added…

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admin March 2, 2021 - 9:05 am

yes and I explain the why in great details :)

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Stephanie March 28, 2021 - 11:42 am

Is the oven temperature for conventional oven or convection oven? thank you

Reply
admin March 29, 2021 - 12:07 pm

All my recipes are made without fan unless otherwise stated

Reply
Saja April 16, 2021 - 7:51 am

5 stars
The recipe was crisp n clear n too detailed in such a way that all sorts of basic errors while baking could be avoided.
The cake really came out well as i followed those instruction. Thanks for sharing the recipe at this detailed level.😊❣

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Fatima March 28, 2021 - 12:49 pm

5 stars
Fluffy sponge . Easy to make if you follow the instructions. Thank you for your work xx

Reply
Sham A April 27, 2021 - 6:34 pm

5 stars
Looks promising, I am looking forward to trying this, is there a recipe for the cream filling etc as in the picture pls?

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admin April 27, 2021 - 6:40 pm

You can search for my Victoria sponge cake if want to make that recipe, also there is a link in the sponge cake recipe for that:)

Reply
Manny April 28, 2021 - 3:17 am

Just wanted to confirm is 3 eggs? In the picture I see 2 egg yolks. Are these about 59 grams eggs with shell? And bake the cake at the middle rack?

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Lena May 17, 2021 - 7:16 pm

5 stars
This was the perfect recipe to make a tiramisu tiered cake. I doubled the recipe and did 2 pans of 10in square cake pans (i shouldve just did 1 pan and put it all together which would make it fluff up more) and i did a letter cake with it so it was perfect to cut out the letter and it tasted perfect as a tiramisu cake. I also did a 6in sponge cake (one recipe) so i put the batter in 2 pans – of 6in x 2in with the parchment paper going up and it was perfect! The fluff came up !! And i made that with regular whipped cream and strawberries. I will def keep using this sponge cake recipe from now one!

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Janet Smithers May 19, 2021 - 3:37 am

Hi.. how would I adjust for a chocolate cake? Thank you

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admin May 19, 2021 - 8:58 pm

You can replace some part of the flour with cocoa powder, I will make one chocolate version soon on the blog :)

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JD May 27, 2021 - 12:36 am

I’ve made a few sponge cakes over the years and the one where you let it cool upside down is what I e always done, but it always specifies not greasing the bottom because it will most likely fall out. How could you line it with parchment and not expect it to fall out when turning it upside down?

Reply
admin May 28, 2021 - 8:48 am

it is fine if it falls down, the important part that it should be upside down while set:)

Reply

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