This is the perfect sponge cake recipe that is easier to make than you think. Top the layers with whipped cream and fresh strawberries for a perfect summer dessert!
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Your friend tells you they have the perfect guy for you. You just have to meet them. Perfect you say? You scoff. Not possible. I mean, come on…perfect? Pleeeeease. You know better than that. But then you meet him and you can’t believe it. He really is perfect. Good looks, good job, good family. He opens the door. He actually listens to you when you speak. And he actually calls when says he is going to call. Miracles do happen.
This cake is like that guy. I’m going to tell you it’s perfect, but I can see you over there. *eye roll*
Perfect, Heather? Yes, you are going to have to trust me. You are going to want to shave your legs for this one.
Perfect Sponge Cake. Layer with whipped cream and call me done. I found it.
This recipe comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, The Fearless Baker. The author, Erin MacDowell believes that you shouldn’t just learn how to bake, but the why’s behind it. So you can tackle baking in the kitchen like a ninja. We would totally get along. Erin and me just sipping coffee in Starbucks, swapping baking tips. I can see it now.
I made her brown sugar brioche cinnamon rolls. Oh. My. Word. Those are like brown sugar cinnamon buns of heaven. So I knew her sponge cake recipe would not disappoint.
What Is A Sponge Cake?
First of, what is a sponge cake? I mean all cakes are the same right? Definitely not. There’s sponge, genoise, flourless, pound cake. The list goes on. According to Craftsy, there are 10 different types of cake in all. Ten! But let’s just focus on sponge shall we?
The two major types of cake are shortened or butter cakes and foam or sponge cakes. Sponge or foam cakes rely on air being whipped into the eggs to help the cake rise once its in the oven. In this cake, the whole egg is whisked with sugar over a double boiler and then whipped on high speed in your mixer to incorporate the air.
The key to making a perfect sponge cake is achieve full volume when beating the eggs and then trying to deflate them as little as possible when you add in the dry ingredients. In the end, the air that was incorporated during the mixing process expands causing the cake to rise.
So in the end you have a light fluffy sponge cake that is perfect for a dollop of whipped cream and fresh strawberries piled on top.
How To Make The Perfect Sponge Cake
First you want to make sure to grease your cake pans properly. I used shortening to grease the sides and then dusted them with flour. For added insurance that the cake doesn’t stick, line the bottom of your pans with parchment paper.
For a full tutorial on how to line your cake pans, read this post.
Then you want to sift your dry ingredients together. Sifting is crucial to help ensure that your dry ingredients are incorporated evenly but also helps to aerate the mixture further. This cake uses cake flour, which is lower in protein content than regular all purpose flour so it helps to create a nice tender cake. For the complete Flour 101, you can nerd out on this post. But whatever you do, be sure to measure your flour accurately.
Baking powder is also used in this cake. Now, even though air is going to play the essential role in lifting this cake, the addition of baking powder helps to make this cake even lighter and rise even higher.
So um, win win you know what I mean?
Ok now on to the liquid ingredients. This hasn’t been hard yet right? Exactly. Easy. Peasy. Let’s press on…
In a mixing bowl, whisk together your oil, milk and pure vanilla extract. Now what about those eggs and sugar? Those are going to have their own party first. In a heatproof bowl, you want to whisk your eggs and sugar together and set it over a double boiler. Just be sure the water underneath doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
You want to then whisk constantly. Ok, constantly means don’t walk away ;). You need the mixture to get up 105°F. Now I don’t know about you but I cannot tell this on my own. And I am by sure not sticking my finger in it! So I rely on my digital thermometer to get the job done. Trust me, this handy dandy tool will be used all the time if you get to baking as much as I do.
Once the egg/sugar mixture is up to temperature then you can add it to your stand mixer and whip the mixture on high speed until pale and thick (about 5 to 6 minutes) and then on medium for 2 to 3 more minutes to help stabilize the foam. Basically its going to look like pale yellowy ribbons of goodness.
Ok so now we have this beautiful egg foam with lots of air incorporated in it. So you want to sprinkle the dry ingredients so as not to deflate the mixture. Then go ahead and drizzle the milk mixture in.
And that’s it! Time to bake! See I told you that you could do this. Just divide the batter and bake!
Once the cakes are cooled, it’s time to frost. I decided to split the cake layers in two which made for one awesome GINORMOUS cake. I am not apologizing. This cake is tall. And amazing.
I topped each layer with stabilized whipped cream and fresh strawberries. But really you could use whatever type of frosting you want. Maybe a chocolate italian meringue buttercream? Nothing wrong about that.
For more buttercream inspiration, check out my Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing. And be sure to download my Buttercream Cheatsheet, which gives you 13 ways to flavor your buttercream!
Tips On How To Make The Perfect Sponge Cake
- Grease the pans properly. There is nothing worse than having a cake that sticks! I find that greasing the sides with shortening works the best. And the addition of parchment paper on the bottom of the pans can ensure the bottoms don’t stick.
- Be sure to sift and measure your cake flour accurately. If you don’t have any cake flour on hand, you can make your own cake flour.
- When adding the dry ingredients to the egg foam mixture, be sure to do so gradually so as not to deflate the mixture. One of the reasons that a sponge cake rises and results in a light and fluffy cake is because of the air that is incorporated.
So you might not believe me when I say this sponge cake is perfect. Like alusive perfect date, it seems like a unicorn. But trust me on this. This is the perfect sponge cake.
To Make This Perfect Sponge Cake You Will Need:
- 2 8-inch cake pans- I use these ones from Wilton and Fat Daddio’s
- Stand Mixer
- Measuring Cups and spoons
- Digital Thermometer
Perfect Sponge Cake
A sponge cake that is light and fluffy! It's absolutely perfect....layer with whipped cream and fresh strawberries!
- 2 2/3 cups cake flour (322 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (8 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt (2 grams)
- 1 cup vegetable oil (198 grams)
- 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature (181 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (15 grams)
- 8 large eggs, at room temperature 934 grams
- 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar 463 grams
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C, with a rack in the middle. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans..
Make the cakes: Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a container with a spout (I used my 2-cup liquid measuring cup) whisk together the oil, milk, and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large heatproof bowl, using a hand mixer) beat the eggs and sugar to combine. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water (with the bowl not touching the water) and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 105F/41 C on an instant read thermometer.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and whip the mixture on high speed until pale and thick, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more (this will help stabilize the foam).
Sprinkle about one quarter of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture in to 2 to 3 additions, mixing just until incorporated into the batter. Gradually drizzle the milk mixture into the batter, mixing just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans (about 730 grams per pan). Bake the cakes until the centers spring back when touched, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. I split the layers into two and frosted with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. But you can really use any type of buttercream you want. If you use both pans, it makes a tall cake, You could also cut each cake into two layers, and make two smaller cakes (or freeze one for later!)
This cake is best served within 4 days of baking. Store tightly at room temperature. I wrapped my cakes in several layer so plastic wrap and kept a room temperature before cutting into layers and frosting. I used this stabilized whipped cream recipe and fresh strawberries, but really any type of buttercream will do!
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