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!
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. Nanna used to cook really old fashioned English/Australian desserts and baked goods. She’d make rock cakes, bunny cakes, pavlovas tortes and of course, her famous and most requested – sponge cake.
So, I am so excited to be sharing her famous fluffy sponge cake recipe with you all today!
What is this Fluffy Sponge Cake Recipe?
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.
How do you make Sponge Cake?
This is one of those more technical recipes that I've posted on THCK. Not as technical as my best pavlova recipe, but it does take some baking skill to pull this recipe off.
So here are some of my favourite tips:
- This is an old recipe, so when I say 1 cup 'not quite full' I mean just below one cup, but above ⅔ of a cup! If you take a look at the process shots, you'll see just how much I fill up my measuring cup.
- 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.
- Speaking of flour, this recipe using self-raising flour. It is easy to find in supermarkets and is often used in Australian baking.
- Prepare your baking pans in advance. I tend to line mine on the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the tin.
- 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 Can I Decorate My Sponge Cake?
As you can see from the photos, my fluffy sponge cake recipe turned into a four-tiered cake. Why? Well, the first time around I didn't use self-raising flour and had flat sponges. So, instead of wasting the cakes, I simply made it into a four-tier cake instead!
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. I almost dropped the entire cake after I shot the photos for this recipe!
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.
After I shot this recipe I also wanted to see what it would look like as a 'naked cake' covered in cream. It looked pretty (I'm a messy decorator) but wasn't as clean and sharp as the original cake.
- 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.
FAQ for this Fluffy Sponge Cake Recipe
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 fluffy 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 fluffy 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.
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!
Nanna's Fluffy Sponge Cake Recipe
- 1 cup self-raising flour not quite full
- ½ tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
- 4 eggs separated
- 1 cup sugar not quite full
- whipped cream for serving
- raspberry jam for serving
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C
- 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 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.
If you loved this recipe, I'd love for you to leave a comment and review! Also, don't forget to snap a pic of your finished recipe and share it on our on our Instagram account using the hashtag #thehomecookskitchen or tagging me @thehomecookskitchen. I'd love to see your creations!
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