Light and Airy Sponge Cake

Light and Airy Sponge Cake recipe, cake with fresh fruit on a plate

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
378 Calories
28g Fat
27g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 16g 79%
Cholesterol 191mg 64%
Sodium 229mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 6g
Calcium 50mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sponge cake is a light, airy cake that's leavened by the air whipped into the eggs, rather than with baking powder or baking soda.

That means you really need to whip the eggs for a long time—like 10 to 15 minutes. And to get good volume from the egg foam, it helps to warm the eggs and sugar first.

Note that in many cases, cake recipes will generically call for you to spray your pans with baking spray with no explanation for why, or what this step is supposed to accomplish. But with this recipe, since it contains no leavening agents other than the air that is whipped into the egg whites, it is critical to flour the sides of the cake pans so that the batter has something to grab onto as it rises. In this case, the butter or shortening is merely something for the flour to stick to.

In any event, baking spray (i.e. the kind with flour mixed in) will work, as will the manual process of buttering (or greasing with shortening) and then sprinkling the pan with flour. Note that there is no reason to flour the bottom of the pan, as the batter only needs to stick to the sides. A round of parchment on the bottom is all you need to prevent the cake from sticking.

Another tip: Make sure the bowl of your stand mixer is very clean and dry. A tiny bit of oil in the bowl can interfere with the foaming process.


  • 5 eggs
  • About 3/4 cups/150 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 1 1/2 cups/150 grams cake flour
  • 1/2 stick/50 grams butter melted

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Light and Airy Sponge Cake ingredients, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray (the kind with flour). It can help to line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit the pan.

    cake pan with flour on a white marble counter

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil on the stovetop, then lower it to a simmer. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the eggs and stir in the sugar and vanilla until blended.

    sugar and egg mixture in a glass bowl with whisk

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Set the bowl over the saucepan to form a double-boiler so that the bottom of the bowl is inside the pan but not touching the water. Stir the egg-sugar mixture over the pot until the mixture is warm, which should take 3 to 4 minutes.

    egg mixture in a bowl on top of a blue saucepan used as a double-boiler, on the stove

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  5. Now attach the bowl to your stand mixer and beat with the whip attachment for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and light.

    white egg mixture in a black stand mixer

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  6. Fold in the flour, then fold in the melted butter. But be gentle, and don't overmix or deflate the foam. Immediately pour the batter into your prepared pans and transfer them to the oven.

    flour and melted butter folded into batter in a metal bowl

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a crumb or two attached. You can start testing after 20 minutes because it's better to check too soon than to overbake.

  8. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then loosen the edges by running a knife along the sides, turn the cakes out onto the racks and cool for at least another 45 minutes.

    baked light and airy sponge cake on a wire cooling rack

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  9. For moisture, you can brush the tops of the cakes with simple syrup, then fill and top with whipped cream and fresh fruit. A dusting of powdered sugar is a nice touch.

    light and airy sponge cake and fresh fruit on a white marble board