Bake a Sponge Cake – It’s Easy, Here’s How

Strawberry ShortcakeIt’s no secret that I love cake, but the cakes I love the most are the light and airy kind – like sponge cake. If you’ve purchased pre-made plain sponge cakes from the grocery store bakery, you’ve probably been reasonably pleased. But seriously, nothing compares to a fresh homemade sponge cake.

Here’s how to make one. This is a basic vanilla recipe, but if you want to make it chocolate, you can add about 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder.

This recipe makes about one 9″ cake. You can easily make and 8″ or even a 7″ cake out of the same recipe, but you will likely have to be bake it longer. Be sure to carefully check for doneness, so you don’t get a gooey center.

Oh and the other day, I made this cake and cut it up into pieces. Then I let the kids top it with whipped cream and strawberries. We ran out of whipped cream when they demanded seconds and when I told them, the eldest said, “That doesn’t matter. The whipped cream wasn’t the best party anyway. The cake is.”

Cake Ingredients:

•    ¾ cup sugar
•    6 large eggs – separate the eggs from the yolks
•    2 teaspoons vanilla
•    1 cup flour
•    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•    2 tablespoons milk

Syrup Coating Ingredients:

•   2 tablespoons water
•   1 tablespoon sugar

How to Make It:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9” cake pan. Using a spingform pan makes it much easier to remove your cake easily for cooling, but I’ve used a regular cake pan in this example.

In a large bowl, use a whisk to mix the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla. Set aside.

Egg yolk mixture

Mix eggs yolks, sugar and vanilla.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Mix on high speed until stiff peeks form.

Beaten Egg Whites

Beat egg whites on high until stiff peeks form

Fold half the egg white mixture into the large bowl with the egg yolks. Add the flour, oil and milk and mix gently until well combined. Finally, fold in the remaining egg whites carefully, making the mixture stays light and fluffy.

Folding egg whites

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture

Pour the entire mixture into your cake pan, ensuring even distribution. Place in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Sponge Cake Batter

Sponge cake, ready for baking

The top of the cake should be light brown and the cake should spring back if you push your finger gently in the middle. You can also insert a toothpick in the middle to ensure it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven once it’s ready.

Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake pan to separate the cake from the sides of the pan. The cake will shrink some as it cools and this will allow it to shrink evenly, instead of being pulled to the sides of the pan.

Preparing Sponge Cake to Cool

Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake, to loosen it from the pan.

Let the cake cool for about 10-15 minutes and then remove it from the pan. If you’ve used a springform pan, simply open it and gently remove the cake and cool it on a cooling rack. If you’ve used a regular cake pan, put a cooling rack on top of your cake. Flip the rack and cake together and gently tap the pan to release the cake. You may need to loosen the cake further with a knife along the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, you can place the 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water into a small saucepan. Heat it until the sugar dissolves and set aside.

Brush Sponge Cake with Syrup

Brush the sponge cake with the water / sugar syrup.

Once the cake has cooled, use a pastry brush to paste the water and sugar mixture all over the cake.

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