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 step1 Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Please make sure there is no cross contamination.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step2 Transfer 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 step3 Add the cake flour and cornstarch to the oil and mix with an egg beater until smooth.best soft and fluffy sponge cake recipe step4 Add 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 step5 Combine 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 step6 To 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 step7 Transfer 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 step8 Transfer 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 step9 Transfer 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 step10 Bake 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

44 comments

  1. 23

    Please may I ask whether your recipe is using a conventional oven? Because my oven is a fan oven and I’d like to know if I have to adjust my temperature. 

  2. 22

    Thanks Guys, Your Recipe Was Too Fantastic. Me and My Family Loved it. I Will Share your Rrecipe with my friends. Hope they will love it too.

  3. 21

    Hi Yi,
    Do you have recipe for the cream. I would love to try that, too!
    Thank you!

  4. 20

    First of all, thank you for the beautifully detailed recipe! It was very easy to follow, and I was happy with the roux; it rose incredibly in the oven, didn’t crack anywhere… but it collapsed spectacularly after I took it out of the oven. Now, I’m guessing the pan I was using was the problem – it was a springform pan, and although I wrapped it in several layers of tin foil, the water still managed to get in. Which kind of pan would you recommend, and do you have any other tips to prevent this from happening?

    P.S. – although it looked like a mess, it was still delicious 🙂

    • 20.1

      hi Marjia, sorry to hear that the cake collapsed due to water. I use a cake pan that doesn’t open up on the bottom. You should be able to find non-spring form cake pan easily in department stores/supermarkets. Hope this helps.

  5. 19

    There are a lot of eggs in this cake, does not yield a too eggy taste? The texture looks perfect, can’t wait to try this recipe! Sorry, one more question.  Is it powdered sugar (icing sugar) or caster sugar (fine granulated sugar)? Thank you! 

  6. 18

    Hello! Do you have any idea if it’s ok to use sugar substitute? I’d use Monkfruit sugar. 

    • 18.1

      hi Tatiana, thanks for checking out my recipe. I have not personally used monkfruit suagr to make the meringue but i think it should work if you manage to get a firm texture. I’d suggest use more lemon juice to help stabilize the egg white. Please let me know how it came out!

  7. 17

    Thanks a lot. I’ve made it. I’ve changed milk by coconut milk.
    The flavor so yummy. 🙂 

  8. 16

    Hi,
    when I use 2 smaller pans, how much do I need to shorten the backing time?

    • 16.1

      Hi Jana, sorry for getting back to you late. It depends on the height of the cake after finishing baking. If you cake is around 2 inch tall, I’d keep it around 60mins or so. If the cake is around 1 inch (not recommended), I’d keep it aorund 45mins or so. Hope this helps.

  9. 15

    Hi Chef,
    I just baked this sponge cake followed your recipe.
    Smell very good but I’m facing a problem, not sure if you could advise me what should I take note.
    At 45mins 165C, the cake surface suddenly cracked.
    After another 15nins, I took it out from oven, it shrinked and wrinkle alot.
    Now the whole cake is not straight up like when it was in the oven :'(

    • 15.1

      hi Autumn, my suggestion would be to lower the temperature slightly and bake for 10 more minutes to see what happens. A small shrinkage is normal but it sounds like you see a big shrinkage in your case. Hope this helps.

  10. 14

    this is literally the best sponge cake recipe that i’ve ever tried. it’s probably that roux method that made it so good. it’s also very simple. i added about 2 tbsp of black sesame powder too, it came out sooo good. thanks so much for the recipe.

    • 14.1

      hi Tiffany, thanks for your feedback. The black sesame powder idea sounds very tasty – noted for my next batch of cakes!

  11. 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.

  12. 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 🙂

  13. 11

    Can I use regular flour instead of cake flour

  14. 10

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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.

  19. 5

    Gorgeous looking cake! The texture looks perfect. Thanks!

  20. 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.

  21. 3

    Yummy yummy!!! Well done chef

  22. 2

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

  23. 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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