Layers of soft sponge cake sandwiched together with jam, cream and fresh strawberries. This fluffy sponge cake is a gorgeous cake for any occasion! There is always a good time to eat cake!
Why We Love this Recipe
My Nanna was one of the best cooks I ever knew. Going to her house when we were kids was the best because she always had the most beautiful home-baked goods. And every time someone had a birthday in the family, she’d bring along some kind of cake or treat for us.
Her fluffy sponge cake was one of my all time favourite recipes, and one I still make regulary today! It's the perfect cake. We love it because:
- it's so soft and spongey, and not too heavy
- it's uses simple ingredients, and not a lot of preparation needs to go in to making this
- you can easily customise the toppings and fillings.
What is Sponge Cake?
Aside from fluffy, the technical term for this sponge is a Genoise Sponge. The Genoise is typically associated with French and Italian desserts and differs from a regular sponge cake in many ways.
This is very close to a Genoise sponge, however with some different elements.
Unlike a regular sponge cake or a Victoria sponge cake, as Genoise has fewer ingredients and relies on whipped egg whites and self-rising flour to create body in the cake, ultimately leading to the fluffiness of the cake.
If I was to describe it, it would be a little cakier and slightly denser compared to an angel food cake, but not as dense as a regular sponge cake.
For this recipe you'll need the following ingredients:
Self Raising Flour - this is typically found in Australian and British supermarkets. Self-Raising flour is exactly that, flour that already has the raising agent in it. If you don't have self-raising flour use plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
Cornflour/Cornstarch - cornflour gives this cake stability, without taking away from the softness of the sponge.
Eggs - at room temperature. They need to be separated. Make sure NO yolk gets into the egg whites otherwise they won't whip up properly.
Sugar - caster/ultra fine sugar if you have it. Fill one cup just under the brim full.
How to Make this Recipe
This recipe is a little more technical, because the way you incorporate your flour into the egg mixture can determine if your sponge is fluffy or dense.
- Bring your eggs to room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- Prepare your round tins. Carefully cut a parchment piece round and butter your tins. Line the tins with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and cornflour 7 times.
- Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form
- Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition
- Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time
- Carefully fold in the flour, trying not to overmix
- Pour into prepared pan
- Bake until golden.
See recipe card for full recipe and details.
FAQs and Tips
How Do I Fold in the Four?
The flour and baking powder need to be sifted 7 times! Yep, Nanna insisted that 7 times was the magic number! In all seriousness though, well-sifted flours mean fewer lumps in your cake and it's easier to fold.
Folding your flour is very important. You'll want to just fold in the flour, enough so that there is no flour stuck to the bottom. Over folding will lead to a very dense sponge cake, not a fluffy sponge cake.
Prepare your baking pans in advance. I tend to line mine on the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the tin.
How Do I Get an Even Bake?
Try and pour the batter evenly into the cake tin. If you want to be specific, it may be a good idea to weigh the batter in the tins.
Do not tap or roughly handle the cake tins. Tapping the pans removes all the bubbles and you'll be left with a dense sponge cake.
To make sure your cakes bake evenly, place them in the MIDDLE RACK on the SAME SHELF. That way they cook evenly.
How Do I Know When My Sponges are Cooked?
You will want to cook your sponge cakes in a 180C/350F fan forced oven for around 20 minutes. They will be a light golden colour on top, and you should be able to lightly touch them and they're springy.
If you've cooked them on the same shelf in the oven they should be ready at the same time and have an even rise.
How Do I Cool My Sponges?
After you take them out of the oven, let them cool in their pans for about 10 minutes.
Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake pans (careful not to scratch them) to loosen them up, the use a wire rack to flip them upside. down onto the rack.
Let them fully cool before adding cream, otherwise you will melt your toppings.
How Can I Decorate My Sponge Cake?
Decorating is a personal preference. For this particular sponge cake, I used layers of raspberry jam, whipped cream and fresh strawberries, then finished off with a dusting of icing sugar.
I loved creating mine with the strawberries in the middle, however, do be careful as it can slide.
You can easily make a four-tiered cake by making 2x the recipe. I would advise not to make 1 large cake and cut it in half as I've found in the past it can become very dense.
If I was doing a two-tiered cake, I would spread raspberry jam on the top of the bottom layer, then I would top the jam with whipped cream, then add the top layer of the cake and dust with icing sugar.
- Raspberry jam and cream, topped with chocolate icing (one of my personal favourites).
- Whipped cream with chocolate icing topping.
- Raspberry jam and cream with a dusting of icing sugar
- Raspberry jam, strawberries, whipped cream and icing sugar.
Can I freeze the sponge cake?
Yes! They freeze well. I bought some gallon sized zip lock bags, and placed my cooled sponge cakes in them, separated by a piece of parchment paper.
To defrost them, all you need to do is to take them out of your freezer bags and place them on a cooling rack.
By the time you whip your cream and get your decorations organised, the cakes will be defrosted enough to work with. I would not freeze these sponge cakes already decorated and filled.
How can I store my sponge cake?
You can easily store the unfilled sponges in an air-tight container for at least 24 hours.
A filled sponge cake is best eaten the day off, however, if you need to keep it, I would cover it and place it in the fridge.
10 minutes before you want to serve the cake, take it out of the fridge to come closer to room temperature. Once it's cut, I always keep the sponge cake in the fridge.
It will be a little dry which is why I recommend eating it all day of.
Why isn't my sponge cake fluffy?
The fluffiness of the sponge cake can come down to two things - the egg whites or the folding of the flour.
The egg whites need to be whisked up until soft peaks form. If not, then there will be no air in your sponge.
You also need to very gently fold the flour into the egg mixture, and work it as little as possible. Over folding will result in a dense sponge.
What can I make my sponge cake recipe in?
I use two 8"/22cm round, shallow baking pans. It is much better to use two pans, rather than one big cake pan.
Using one large cake pan will result in a denser sponge. As mentioned before, I line my cake tins with a round of parchment paper, and lightly grease them with a little butter to avoid sticking.
To remove the cakes from the tin, gently run a butter knife around the edge of the cakes, take a cooling rack and place on top of the cake tin, and flip.
More Cake Recipes
This fluffy sponge cake recipe is perfect for gatherings, birthdays, picnics, potlucks or any day really! There is never a bad day to eat cake, especially a gorgeously fluffy sponge cake!
Fluffy Sponge Cake Recipe
- 170 g plain flour 1 cup, not quite full to the brim
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
- 4 eggs at room temperature, separated
- 190 g sugar 1 cup, not quite full to the brim
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C (fan forced)
- Cut out a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your cake tin. Grease the tin lightly with butter, then place the parchment paper round in the bottom of the tin.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and cornstarch/cornflour 7 times.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks appear.
- Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition.
- Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time.
- Gradually and carefully, fold in the flour. Use a figure 8 method to fold, and make sure you're not over folding.
- Evenly pour the batter into the prepared tins.
- Place tins in the middle rack of the oven, side by side.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sponge cake is started to brown on top.
- To test if it's ready, poke a metal skewer into the middle of the cake, the skewer should come out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before turning them out onto a wire rack.
- To turn out the cakes, carefully and gently run a butter knife outside the edge of the cake. Place a cooling rack upside down on the top of the cake tin, and carefully flip. The cake should come out straight away, if not, gently whack the bottom of the cake tin to loosen it.
- To serve - cool cakes completely, then sandwich together with whipped cream, raspberry jam, and/or strawberries. Top with cream, dust with icing sugar or top with chocolate icing.