Vanilla sponge cake is an absolute staple in the pastry kitchen and a recipe that everyone should master. It is the base for many European style desserts and also has many applications in decorating and finishing as well. Master this simple recipe to add great depth to your pastry repertoire!
by volume by weight
3 large eggs 204 grams eggs
1/2 cup sugar 99 grams sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 gram salt
1/2 cup cake flour 60 grams cake flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch 24 grams cornstarch
2 tablespoons melted butter 28 grams melted butter
It is important to have everything assembled and ready to go to have success with sponge cake. There is nothing in this recipe to make the cake rise other than the air you beat into the eggs. When you stop beating, the mixture slowly begins to deflate. Make sure everything you need is ready and you will make a fantastic sponge cake.
Sift the flour and the cornstarch twice to remove all lumps and to aerate the flour.
Melt the butter and hold on the side in a warm place so that it remains liquid while you prepare the cake.
Heat the oven to 350F. Beat the eggs, salt, and sugar on high speed until the mixture triples in volume, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Beat for an additional minute on medium speed to stabilize the mixture. This will reduce the size of the bubbles in the mixture and make the texture of the finished cake more even and fine.
Fold the flour into the whipped eggs in three separate additions.
Mix a small amount of the batter into the butter and then fold the butter into the cake batter.
Immediately place the batter in the pan and spread as evenly as possible.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the center springs back when touched and then cool completely in the pan.
The most common variation of sponge cake is chocolate. To do this, simply substitute 15 grams (2 tablespoons) of cocoa powder for 15 grams (2 tablespoons) of the cake flour. Sift it with the flour and cornstarch and then follow the directions above from there.
You can also flavor sponge cake with a bit of orange or lemon zest if you like. Just keep in mind that the nature of sponge cake is to absorb and it is usually brushed with simple syrup or liqueur so you will be adding plenty of flavor in the finished dessert!