vanilla sponge cake

Making a delicious vanilla sponge cake is an art that combines precision, patience, and the right ingredients. Whether you are an experienced baker or a novice in the kitchen, this comprehensive guide will walk you through each step to create a light, fluffy, and delectable vanilla sponge cake.

Ingredients for Vanilla Sponge Cake

To begin, gather all the necessary ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparing the Batter

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Pan

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or non-stick spray and lightly dust it with flour. This ensures the cake will release easily after baking.

Step 2: Sift Dry Ingredients

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Sifting helps to aerate the flour, ensuring a light and airy texture in your sponge cake.

Step 3: Beat the Eggs and Sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and granulated sugar using an electric mixer on high speed for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick, pale, and tripled in volume. This step is crucial as it incorporates air into the batter, which is essential for a fluffy sponge cake.

Step 4: Incorporate Wet Ingredients

Gradually add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until combined. Be careful not to overmix as this can deflate the batter.

Step 5: Fold in Dry Ingredients

Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients using a spatula. Use a light hand to ensure the batter retains as much air as possible. Fold until just combined, being careful not to overwork the batter.

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Baking the Cake

Step 6: Pour and Bake

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 7: Cool the Cake

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. This prevents the cake from becoming soggy.

Decorating and Serving

Step 8: Prepare the Frosting

While the cake cools, you can prepare a simple vanilla frosting or whipped cream to complement your sponge cake. For a classic buttercream frosting, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk, beating until smooth and fluffy.

Step 9: Frost the Cake

Once the cake is completely cooled, spread a generous layer of frosting on top and sides of the cake. You can also slice the cake in half horizontally to add a layer of frosting in the middle.

Step 10: Add Finishing Touches

Decorate your vanilla sponge cake with fresh fruits, sprinkles, or a dusting of powdered sugar. The choice is yours!

FAQs About Vanilla Sponge Cake

Q: How do I prevent my sponge cake from deflating?

A: Ensure you beat the eggs and sugar sufficiently to incorporate enough air. Also, fold the dry ingredients gently to maintain the batter’s airiness.

Q: Can I make this cake ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can bake the cake a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature and frost it just before serving.

Q: Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?

A: Absolutely! This batter works perfectly for cupcakes. Adjust the baking time to about 15-20 minutes.

Q: How do I store leftover cake?

A: Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If frosted with buttercream, refrigeration is recommended.

Q: Can I freeze vanilla sponge cake?

A: Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving.

Q: What variations can I try with this recipe?

A: You can experiment by adding different flavors such as lemon zest, almond extract, or even cocoa powder to create a chocolate sponge cake. Additionally, you can fold in berries, nuts, or chocolate chips for added texture and taste.

Tips for the Perfect Vanilla Sponge Cake

Use Fresh Ingredients

Ensure that your ingredients, especially the eggs and baking powder, are fresh. This significantly affects the cake’s rise and overall texture.

Room Temperature Ingredients

Using room temperature eggs, butter, and milk helps to create a smooth batter and even baking. Cold ingredients can lead to a lumpy batter and uneven baking.

Do Not Overmix

Overmixing the batter can result in a dense cake. When incorporating the dry ingredients, mix until just combined to keep the batter light and airy.

Proper Oven Temperature

Ensure your oven is properly preheated to the correct temperature. An oven thermometer can be handy to verify this. Baking at an incorrect temperature can lead to undercooked or overcooked cake.

Check for Doneness

Use a toothpick or cake tester to check if the cake is done. Insert it into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is ready.

Cooling the Cake

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. This helps to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan and maintains its structure.

Serving Suggestions

Vanilla sponge cake is incredibly versatile. Here are a few serving ideas to elevate your cake:

  • Fresh Fruit Topping: Serve with fresh berries, sliced peaches, or a medley of tropical fruits.
  • Cream and Custards: Pair with freshly whipped cream, custard, or a dollop of mascarpone.
  • Layer with Jam: Spread a layer of your favorite jam or preserve between the cake layers for a fruity twist.
  • Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle melted chocolate or a simple chocolate ganache over the top for a decadent treat.
  • Dust with Sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar can add a touch of elegance and sweetness.


Creating the perfect vanilla sponge cake is a rewarding endeavor that can be mastered with the right techniques and ingredients. Whether enjoyed plain, with a cup of tea, or as a base for more elaborate creations, this classic cake is a favorite for many occasions. Follow this guide to impress your family and friends with a delightful homemade cake that showcases the timeless appeal of vanilla sponge.

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