Best Soft and Fluffy Sponge Cake

best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe

This foolproof recipe makes the perfect sponge cake that’s so soft and airy it’ll just melt in your mouth.

Light, soft, fluffy and with a wonderful fine texture, this Asian style sponge cake/海绵蛋糕, aka jiggly cake, cotton cake, Ogura cake, or Taiwanese old fashioned sponge cake, is one of my favorite cakes and I am super excited to share this foolproof recipe so that you can also enjoy this wonderful cake at home.

To make sure this recipe is truly foolproof, I have done extensive testing (i.e. many slices of the same cake) so you have my words that if you follow the recipe carefully you’d be able to make the same cake as pictured!

A Youtube video is also on the way and please make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel so you get notified as soon as the video is uploaded!

best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe

Unlike the Japanese Cheese Cake, which is another popular Asian soft cake, this sponge cake does not use any cream cheese and has less calorie count per serving than many other cakes, making it a perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.

By the way, this sponge cake also concludes my mini egg recipe series. If you are an egg lover, please make sure you check out all the recipes under this series (and if you hate eggs, good news, I’ll start posting non-egg recipes after this one:))

best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe

So what’s the secret behind this light and fluffy sponge cake?

Similar to the water roux / Tangzhong method used in my Milk Bread Recipe, this sponge cake also calls for a roux known as Tang Mian/烫面 which literally translates to cooked flour or cooked dough. This is an important step and very different from traditional cake recipes so please make sure you don’t skip it.

Before you start baking, please go over the below notes where I list out a few helpful tips to help you make the best sponge cake ever!

Recipe Notes:

  1. When separating the egg whites from the yolks, be sure not to get any yolks in with the whites as they will not whip properly. Any egg yolks in the egg whites would make it hard to get a proper meringue.
  2. It is also important to note that when making the meringue with egg whites, it needs to get to a point of stiff peaks. You will know they are stiff peaks when they stick to the paddles and hold their positions.
  3. The vanilla extract is optional, but I find it adds some additional flavor to the cake. You can certainly explore other flavors such as matcha or chocolate (please leave a comment below to let me know what other flavors you’d like to make).
  4. This recipe makes a 8″x8″x3″ square cake. The same recipe can be used for a 9″ round cake. Cut the recipe in half if you plan on making a 6″ round cake.
  5. The water bath is very important in the baking process. Make sure that the water is warm when adding it to the tray in the oven.

Without further ado, let’s bake some killer cakes!

Perfect Soft and Jiggly Sponge Cake

Yield: 8" x 8" x 3" cake

Prep Time:25mins

Cook Time:70mins - 90mins

Total Time:95mins - 115mins

This foolproof recipe makes the perfect sponge cake that's so soft and airy it'll just melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs (see recipe notes for different cake pan size)
  • 100g cake flour (low gluten flour)
  • 10g corn starch
  • 120g powdered sugar
  • 100g corn oil / vegetable oil
  • 100g milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1g salt
  • 1tsp lemon juice or 1/2tsp cream of tartar
 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325F/167c. Line a 8" x 8" x 3" cake pan with parchment paper (see recipe notes for other cake pan sizes) and place the cake pan inside another pan or baking tray.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step1Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Please make sure there is no cross contamination.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step2Transfer the corn oil to a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat for 30 seconds or until warm but not burning hot.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step3Add the cake flour and cornstarch to the oil and mix with an egg beater until smooth.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step4Add the milk to the mixture and gently mix to incorporate. The mixture will start to get thick. Stop mixing once 2/3 of the mixture has turned into a thick roux and 1/3 is still liquid. Transfer to a bowl.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step5Combine this flour mixture with egg yolks and add salt and vanilla extract. Gently mix with a egg beater until the mixture is smooth and still slightly runny. Set aside.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step6To make the meringue, beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl or use a stand mixer with whip attachment. add lemon juice or cream of tartar. egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foams formed. Beat in 120g of sugar in 3 batches. Increase speed to high. Continue to beat until stiff peaks formed.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step7Transfer 1/3 of the meringue to the egg yolk mixture. Gently mix by folding using a spatula until smooth.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step8Transfer the entire mixture from the above step to the remaining 2/3 of meringue. Gently mix by folding using a spatula until the batter is smooth and slightly runny.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step9Transfer the cake batter to the already-lined cake pan. If needed, use a pastry scraper to smooth out the surface. Add warm water to the outer tray that's holding the cake pan.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step10Bake at 325F/167c ofr 45 minutes at lower rack. Then bake for another 25 minutes to 45minutes at 340F/171c depending on the thickness of your cake. Once done, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step11 
Recipe Notes:
  • When separating the egg whites from the yolks, be sure not to get any yolks in with the whites as they will not whip properly. Any egg yolks in the egg whites would make it hard to get a proper meringue.
  • It is also important to note that when making the meringue with egg whites, it needs to get to a point of stiff peaks. You will know they are stiff peaks when they stick to the paddles and hold their positions.
  • The vanilla extract is optional, but I find it adds some additional flavor to the cake. You can certainly explore other flavors such as matcha or chocolate (please leave a comment below to let me know what other flavors you'd like to make).
  • This recipe makes a 8"x8"x3" square cake. The same recipe can be used for a 9" round cake. Cut the recipe in half if you plan on making a 6" round cake.
  • The water bath is very important in the baking process. Make sure that the water is warm when adding it to the tray in the oven.
 
best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe

25 comments

  1. 13

    Hi Yi – Can you make this cake and freeze for later?

    • 13.1

      Hi Jessy, yes you can. Please make sure the cake is completely cool to room temperature and the container is tightly sealed. I’d not freeze it for more than one month though.

  2. 12

    Hi Yi,

    I’m known in my family to make rock-hard cakes; my cakes either fail to rise or just come out really stiff regardless of all the tactics I’ve tried. I was skeptical when I saw your recipe, and to my surprise and relief, it came out soft, spongy and delicious. I could eat this every day. Thank you for helping me regain some confidence in the kitchen haha!

    • 12.1

      Hi Viv, thanks for the feedback and I am so happy to hear that the cake came out soft and spongy! If you are on IG, please feel free to share the picture 🙂

  3. 11

    Can I use regular flour instead of cake flour

  4. 10

    Amazing!!!! You’re really trying with your recipe and I love the cake I will always visit for more recipe

  5. 9

    This is one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. I mean, your photographs are exquisite, but still, it’s a masterful cake. I can’t wait to try it.

    • 9.1

      Hi Jeff, thanks for your kind words. Yes this is a lovely cake and i’m glad that you are interested in trying it!

  6. 8

    Hi Yi
    Thank u for sharing this sponge cake recipe. I’m a bit nervous baking with water bath method. I tried this method before n the cake always comes out damp at the bottom . Can I just bake it on the lowest rack  at 150 deg C on convection mode.?
    Also, do u need to cool this sponge inverted to avoid it sinking ?

    • 8.1

      Hi there, water bath is essential for this recipe. If you are afraid that water gets into the cake, try wrapping the pan with aluminum foil or put the cake pan in another tray and put this second tray into a third tray that has water. Yes 150c on lower rack on convection should work. Lastly, I dont need to invert the cake to cool. It doesn’t collapse after cooling (at least not to a degree that would make cake look bad). Hope this helps.

  7. 7

    If I wanted to add matcha powder to this recipe, which step would be the best for that? Thank you!

    • 7.1

      Hi Vicki, add the matcha to the cake flour and corn starch. I’ve done that a few times to make matcha roll cake 🙂

  8. 6

    Two questions:

    1) Should I let the cooked roux and remaining liquid cool, because egg scrambling issues
    2) When is the first 90 g of sugar put in? The last 30 g is missed at the end if the meringue process, but I can’t find the first introduction of sweetness.

    • 6.1

      Hi There, thanks for checking out the recipe. To answer your question: 1) no need to wait until the roux mixture cools down. You can add the yolks right away; 2) my apologies it was a combination of bad math and typo – all sugar is used in making the meringue and it’s added in 3 batches (typical procedure). I have updated the post and thank you for catching that.

  9. 5

    Gorgeous looking cake! The texture looks perfect. Thanks!

  10. 4

    What sort of oven did you use? Fan or conventional. Have tried a few different recipes for this cake but each time thr dome top collapses.

  11. 3

    Yummy yummy!!! Well done chef

  12. 2

    i’ve never heard of a tang mien method..that sounds genius. I’m going try it today and report bck

  13. 1

    That’s the PERFECTEST sponge cake that I have ever seen. I like that 烫面method too. Well done, Yi.

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