Today, I’m sharing EVERYTHING about how to make the incredibly fluffy sponge cake. Use this light, silky, soft sponge cake for various desserts, such as roll cakes, cupcakes, whole cakes, etc.
📌 Table of Contents
📌 The common issues
Even though the steps and ingredients are VERY simple, one mistake can dramatically affect the texture. You might get problems such as:
- It did not rise well.
- The texture was rough.
- The batter was so loose.
- The cake was dried.
... and so on. I encountered all the issues before. After baking sponge cakes hundreds of times, I finally figured out how to avoid them. And I'm excited to share all the troubleshooting in this post so you can make it successful at home!
📌 What you'll learn in this post:
In this post, you'll learn essential baking tips such as:
- Crucial tips to make fluffy sponge cake
- How to make the texture so fine and silky
- 4 Tips for folding the batter professionally
- How to make the cake syrup
- The difference between genoise sponge and biscuit sponge cake
... and more!
Let's get started.
📌 What's In Fluffy Sponge Cake?
6 Simple Ingredients
- Whole eggs: The sponge rises with a power of whipped eggs today. The key ingredient for the fluffy texture!
- Granulated sugar: Sugar helps to create a fine and moist texture.
- Cake flour: For this cake, use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour to make the texture very fluffy. I tried it with all-purpose flour (With less amount or even with homemade all-purpose flour by mixing all-purpose flour and cornstarch), but the texture and height of the cake changed a lot.
- Milk: It helps to make a moister sponge cake. It also adds a nice flavor!
- Oil: I like to use olive oil as a healthier option, but any regular oils work.
- Vanilla extract (Optional): Use vanilla beans or other extracts. Be careful not to add it too much; The texture gets less fluffy and silky when you add it too much.
📌 How To Make Fluffy Sponge Cake
- Preheat the oven to 355 F | 180 C
- Prepare hot, simmering water to warm eggs.
- Set up cake liners inside a pan. (Or you can coat a thin layer of butter, dust flour on top, and toss to remove excess.)
- Sift cake flour.
- (Combine milk, oil, and vanilla ahead.)
If you have not made this sponge many times yet, I recommend finishing up the preparations ahead. It'll allow you to focus on the tips in each step without feeling completely overwhelmed.
6 Steps To Make Fluffy Sponge Cake
- Warm whole eggs and sugar with a water bath, constantly mixing until it feels warm, like bath water.
- Whip whole eggs and sugar.
- Start whipping at high speed to make it fluffy. (Drop the batter with a whisk. It should flow slowly, and the lines should stay on the surface.)
- Finish at low speed to make air bubbles smaller until it looks very shiny.
- Add the sifted cake flour and fold until you don’t see any flour.
- Add milk and oil and fold until everything is mixed evenly and the batter flows smoothly when dropping it with a spatula.
- Pour into a pan and Bake at 355 F | 180 C.
- for 25 - 30 minutes for 2 6" pans
- for 30 - 35 minutes for 1 8” pan
- Adjust the time and temperature depending on the oven.
- After it's out of the oven, flip it and let it cool completely before slicing it.
Essential Tips For Each Step
Now, let me share detailed tips on each step, which are crucial for making a fluffy sponge cake successful.
Step 1: Warm whole eggs and sugar with a water bath, constantly mixing until it feels warm.
- Once you add sugar to the eggs, mix immediately with a whisk so that the egg yolks do not absorb it and create lumps.
- Warming the eggs makes them whipped enough in a much shorter time.
- To ensure that we are not cooking eggs with simmering water, there are some things we can do:
- Once the water starts boiling, I turn off the heat or lower it before use.
- Ensure that the bowl of eggs is NOT soaked in the hot water.
- Heat it until it reaches 100 - 113 F | 37.5 - 45 C. I usually do not check the temperature with a thermometer, but instead (You can if you like!), insert a finger and check: it should be comfortably warm like a baby bath.
- Mix constantly as you heat.
- When you check the temperature, try doing it quickly or remove it from heat for seconds.
Step 2: Whip whole eggs and sugar.
- Start whipping right away while the eggs are still warm.
- You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer, whichever you prefer. With a stand mixer, you can do other prep work while whipping. And it also takes a lot less time to finish.
How much should I whip the eggs?
How much you whip it is EXTREMELY important. The most crucial part. A lot of people fail here by not whipping it enough.
When you don't whip enough, it does not contain enough air bubbles inside, leading to a shorter, less fluffy cake.
How to check if the egg is whipped enough
- Stop your mixer, scoop the batter with a whisk, and drop - It should flow slowly like a ribbon.
- Check if the dropped lines stay on the surface.
Whip it at low speed at the end.
After whipping eggs at high speed, it is not quite done yet! - The size of the bubbles is big at this point. And that leads to a rough sponge texture.
To finish off, whip more at low speed until it looks shiner and smoother. - for about 5 minutes with one batch of this recipe. It creates a more silky, fine texture!
Because those small bubbles do not get eliminated as easily as big ones, the sponge rises more and gets fluffier.
Before whipping at low speed:
After whipping at low speed:
Step 3: Add cake flour and fold until you don’t see any flour.
- After you add cake flour, start folding other ingredients as quickly as possible and put them in the oven while the condition of bubbles is the best. (I like to sift flour ahead to start folding right away.)
- You can avoid killing too many air bubbles by folding instead of vigorously mixing.
- 4 tips for folding sponge batter: (Check out the video tutorial to see it visually!)
- Move your spatula like you draw a "J."
- As you move your spatula, move your bowl about 45 - 90 degrees so that you can mix evenly.
- Fold fast. That helps to break down chunks of flour. The air bubbles stay more stable by finishing up faster, resulting in a taller, fluffier sponge.
- Clean your spatula and bowl on the way to ensure you do not miss any uneven parts. Ensure that no flour is left on the bottom or sides.
Step 4: Add Liquids and fold until the batter flows smoothly when dropping it with a spatula.
- When you add the liquids while you still see flour, they touch each other directly, and it sometimes creates lumps that are more difficult to break down later. It's not a deal-breaker, but it is something to be mindful of!
- At the end, check the bottom of a bowl one last time to ensure everything is incorporated evenly.
How much should we fold the batter?
How much you fold is very important. This is the 2nd part many people fail by either folding too much or folding less:
- When you fold less, your sponge gets more volume and rises a lot, but the texture is rougher and not silky enough.
- When you fold too much, too many air bubbles get killed, leading to a shorter, less fluffy sponge.
How to check if the batter is folded enough
Scoop a lot of the batter and drop:
❌ When it drops and does not flow much, it is not done yet.
⭕️ When it flows smoothly like a ribbon, it is done!
Check out the video tutorial to see the movement visually.
It drops and doesn't flow. Not done yet!:
It flows like a ribbon. Done!:
Should I use butter or oil?
And as fat, some people use butter instead of oil. So what difference do they make?
Oil is a liquid base, so the sponge tends to rise more and create a lighter texture even after it's cooled down, just like chiffon cakes. Also, you do not need to let it melt beforehand like butter.
When adding butter, you'll need to melt it beforehand until it feels very warm. If it's not warm enough, it'll start getting hardened as you fold it into the batter.
The benefit of butter is adding a nice flavor to your sponge.
Pick whichever you like, depending on what flavor and texture you like!
Step 5: Pour into a pan and bake at 355 F | 180 C
- The most important thing at this point is to pour it into a pan as FAST as possible and bake it right away while the condition of the batter is still great.
- Even though you whip the batter at low speed to make air bubbles small, some big air bubbles get created during the folding process. Try these to resolve it:
- Toss the pan at least a few times to give it a shock.
- Swirl it with a toothpick.
How do I know if it's baked enough?
There are 2 ways you can use to check if it's baked enough:
- Touch the surface and see if it bounces back gently.
- Insert a toothpick and see if it comes off clean.
Bake until the center is cooked through. The sponge slightly shrinks in the oven when that happens.
Keep in mind that the sponge still gets cooked up with the remaining heat. I take it out from the oven when about 98% is cooked.
Step 6: After it's out of the oven, flip it and let it cool completely.
- As soon as it's removed from the oven, I like to give it "a shock" by dropping it a few times on a table (1 - 2 inches away). The purpose is to release steam to prevent the sponge from deflating too much. *Do NOT drop from too high since the sponge can get torn off.
- The sponge is very fragile when it is hot. Do not cut the sponge while it is still warm since it'll be harder to cut clean.
I use this sponge for many kinds of cakes, and it always turns out amazing. I especially LOVE a strawberry shortcake with this sponge! The perfectly fluffy sponge and light whipped cream is a heavenly combination.
📌 Simple Syrup for Fluffy Sponge Cake
Like any other genoise sponge cake, which does not contain lots of oil or liquid, this sponge cake can feel drier after some time in the fridge, especially after a few days. To resolve the issue, I recommend applying cake syrup to moisten it.
I often apply cake syrup when making a whole cake with the sponge cake. It feels more moist and creates more delicate softness.
How to make simple cake syrup
Melt the sugar with hot water. You can also heat them in the microwave or a pot. The most commonly used ratio is 1 (water) to 1 (sugar).
If you prefer less sweet sponge cake, try a 2 (water) to 1 (sugar) ratio.
How much should I apply for a whole cake?
For a 6" cake, I usually apply about 1.5 oz | 45 g (3 Tbsp) of cake syrup. There is no need to add lots of it. Applying too much of it can result in a soggy sponge cake.
📌 Frequently Asked Questions
To store it, wrap it tightly, put it in a ziploc bag, or wrap it one more time. And use it up within a few days, ideally. You can also freeze for up to a few months. Or eat it right away for the very best taste!
The sponge's texture will not be the same with all-purpose flour. It creates more gluten, making the sponge heavier and less fluffy. I highly recommend using cake flour if you can get it!
That can happen in these processes:
* Eggs were not whipped enough. The batter didn't contain enough air bubbles because of that.
* The batter was over-mixed after adding flour, milk, and oil.
* Many air bubbles disappeared because the batter was not baked right away. After you practice for some time, you naturally start moving faster!
Here are the possible causes:
* You did not whip at a low speed for long enough at the end of the whipping process. The air bubbles remained big because of that.
* You did not fold the batter enough. By under-mixing the batter, it contains more air bubbles and rises more in the oven, BUT you'll feel it is less silky and slightly rougher.
When it deflated more than slightly, the sponge might not be baked enough: It shrinks because the body (such as glutens, eggs, etc.) is not set enough yet.
What Is Genoise Cake?
Genoise sponge cake is made by whipping up whole eggs and sugar together. That is the unique method for this sponge to create a fluffy texture.
The primary 4 ingredients are eggs, sugar, flour, and butter.
In addition to it, "Biscuit sponge cake" is also a very popular sponge widely used in the world. Genoise sponge and biscuit sponge are the BIG 2 in the sponge world.
What's different is how you whip eggs. The sponge with biscuit method is made by whipping up egg whites and yolks separately. All the other processes are the same as the genoise sponge cake.
Here is the illustration I created to explain the 2 methods:
📌 VIDEO: Watch How To Make It!
Watch this video to learn how to make the sponge cake visually and have a deeper understanding of all.
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📌 Other Sponge Cake Recipes
Check out other types of sponge cake from the list!
📌 Printable Recipe
💬 If you loved this recipe, please share your feedback on this post! I always love hearing how you enjoyed it with your friends and family at home.
Fluffy Sponge Cake
- Cake mold
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- 4 eggs Whole eggs Large eggs
- 4.9 oz Granulated sugar
- 4.6 oz Cake flour
- 0.7 oz Milk or 4 tsp
- 1.4 oz Oil Any regular oils
- ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract (Optional)
- 1. Preheat the oven: to 355 F | 180 C2. Prepare hot simmering water to warm eggs.3. Set up cake liners inside a pan. (Or you can coat a thin layer of butter, dust flour on top, and toss to remove excess.)4. Sift cake flour. 5. (Combine milk, oil, and vanilla ahead.)
- Warm whole eggs and sugar with a water bath, constantly mixing until it feels comfortably warm like a bath.4 eggs Whole eggs, 4.9 oz Granulated sugar
- Whip whole eggs and sugar. Start whipping at high speed to make it fluffy. (Drop the batter with a whisk and check: It should flow slowly and the lines should stay on the surface.) Finish at low speed to make air bubbles smaller until it looks very shiny.
- Add cake flour and fold until you don’t see any flour.4.6 oz Cake flour
- Add milk and oil and fold until everything is mixed evenly. The batter should flow smoothly when you drop it with a spatula.0.7 oz Milk, 1.4 oz Oil, ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Pour into a pan right away and bake at 355 F | 180 C until the center bounces back very gently.for about 25-30 mins for 2 6’ pans for about 30-35 mins for 1 8” pan* Adjuest the time & temperature depending on the oven, the thickness of the batter, etc.
- After it's out of the oven, flip it and let it cool completely before slicing it.
How to store it:Wrap it tightly, put that in a zip log, or wrap it one more time. And use it up within a few days ideally. You can also freeze for up to a few months. Or eat it right away for the very best taste! One batch of this recipe makes 1 8" or 2 6" cakes.
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