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A few weeks ago I shared a picture of a snack I was eating on my Instagram account and everyone wanted to know what it was! I promised that I’d share my sponge cake recipe here so here goes…
The Most Versatile Cake Recipe
This recipe is for an amazing Sponge Cake. If you haven’t had Sponge Cake before, think of it as a cake that’s between a Pound Cake and a Angel Food Cake. You can eat it plain or frosted, as a cake or cupcake etc. The possibilities are endless!
This is the ONLY cake recipe I ever make from scratch. In the past I’ve tried other recipes but none compare to this one! Generations of my family have made this cake and now I’m sharing it with you!
This cake is super moist and the outside “crust” has a really nice deep flavor. This cake is also incredibly adaptable! You can turn it into a chocolate cake by adding chocolate powder, or make it a peanut butter cake by adding peanut butter powder like PB2! For example, a few years ago I made a birthday cake using this recipe. I added peanut butter powder and chocolate chips to the batter then drizzled a peanut butter glaze on top! It was AMAZING!)
The possibilities are endless! This REALLY is the only cake recipe you’ll ever need!
Not a baker? That’s not a problem! This post is a bit of a tutorial too, so I’ll walk you through every step of the way (and even include a couple helpful videos!)
Even if you’ve never baked a cake before, you CAN make this one! But there are a few things you need to know. I’ll walk you through everything!
- 7 Large Eggs
- 1.5 Cups of Granulated Sugar (You can use splenda if you like)
- 2 Cups of Flour (Works great with All-Purpose or White Whole Wheat)
- 3/4 Cups of Orange Juice (If you want to cut down on calories, you can do half juice and half water, and you can pick almost any juice you want)
- 1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
- 3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
- 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt (or just a pinch)
- 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla or the seeds of one vanilla bean (optional)
- Orange zest (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF
2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks
This is a super important step. You want to make sure that you separate them REALLY well. If you have even a drop of egg yolk in the egg white bowl, your egg whites will NOT get fluffy. This can be very frustrating so take your time with this step.
You’ll need a cup and two bowls (one for the egg yolks and one for the egg whites.) Break each egg over a cup putting the egg white in the cup and the egg yolk in a bowl. Then check that the egg white in the cup has NO traces of yolk. If it’s okay, pour the egg white into the egg white bowl and repeat until you’ve separated all the eggs.
Never separated eggs before? Here’s a great video that shows you a few ways to do it. I use the last method but the others should work fine as well!
3. Whip the Egg Whites and Add Salt and Sugar to the Egg Whites
Once you’ve finished separating all the eggs, begin to beat them.
If you’ve never done this before be prepared for it to take about 10 minutes or so. I’ve done it by hand and it takes a lot longer so strongly suggest using a stand mixer so that you don’t need to stay with it the whole time, but a hand mixer will work if that’s all you’ve got on hand.
First it will look frothy, and then it will start to get thicker (like whipped cream). Then it will get much thicker… When it’s ready, you should be able to take the whisk out of the bowl and the egg white will stand up on the tip of the whisk when you turn it over. Take a look at this great video to see this in action:
If you need a stand mixer, I love this one. I’ve had it in black for close to ten years! You can also use a hand mixer, or a ton of patience and a wisk. The stand mixer is a bit pricey but if you don’t plan to use it often you can buy one for as little as $30 from Hamilton Beach. I love the Classic Series from Kitchen Aid one because it holds up really well, and has so many different attachments! There is no end to what you can do with it – you can even mass potatoes with it!
To make this recipe, you need to beat the egg whites until they hold a “stiff peak”. This might be the most daunting part for anyone who hasn’t done this before. It’s really not that hard, though, once you know what to look for and how long to expect it to take. Here’s a great video that shows you the different stages, how to achieve them, and how to fix it if you over-beat them:
Anyway… once you get to a soft peaks, start slowly adding the salt and sugar. Add a pinch of salt and just half a cup of sugar to the egg whites. Then continue beating the eggs until you get a stiff peak.
4. Mix the Yolks & Liquids
Next, you’ll want to mix the yolks with all the “liquid ingredients”. You can absolutely do this by hand and you can even do it while the Egg Whites are being fluffed… just don’t forget to keep an eye on the egg whites!
Did you know that sugar counts as a liquid when you’re baking? It does! I’ve heard that this is because it dissolves but I’m not 100% sure.
In any case, you’ll want to mix the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until the sugar fully dissolved. You’ll notice the mixture go from a bright yellow/orange to a light yellow when it’s fully dissolved. It will look something like this:
Then add the oil and orange juice. (You can use almost any juice, or do a mix of orange juice and water if you want… but I use just orange juice most of the time).
Once it’s all combined, add the vanilla extract if you are using it. If you’re using vanilla bean like I did here, you can add the vanilla bean seeds at this step too. The seeds will look something like this:
Want the seeds but don’t want to scrape them out every time? Or maybe you want to stretch the beans further? Making your own Vanilla Sugar is a great option! You just cut the beans open and then drop them in a jar of plain sugar and shake it up. Let them sit for a week or so and then you’ll have Vanilla Sugar! Next time, just use sugar from this jar for all or part of the sugar in the recipe to get the great vanilla bean taste without the hassle!
5. Slowly Add In the Dry Ingredients
Some cook books will tell you to mix the dry ingredients together before mixing with the wet ones, but honestly… who has time for that?!
I just slowly add the dry ingredients to the yolks-mixture and it always works out just fine!
Start with the baking powder and then the orange zest (optional).
Then add the flour a little at a time.
If you’d like to add any chocolate chips, nuts, or peanut butter powder, do that now.
That’s all there is to it!
5. Fold the Egg Whites into the Egg Yolk Mixture
Okay – if you haven’t done this before it can be a bit confusing but you’ll be fine!!
Here’s another great video to show you how:
Once you’ve folded all the eggs into the egg yolk batter, you’re ready to bake it!
6. Lightly Grease Your Pan
DON’T spray the pan…. Put a tiny drop of oil on a paper towel and then lightly spread it on the pan. You could skip this step, but it gives me peace of mind 🙂
Here are three great pans I like:
2-Piece Tube Pan (My FAVORITE!)
A Pretty 1-Piece Pan (You’ll see this in green in the pictures)
The 2-piece pan is a great starter pan because it makes the cake SUPER easy to remove and it’s the traditional sponge cake shape. I love these pans!
You could use this batter with just about any pan including a cupcake pan, but I usually use one of these three when making a cake.
7. Bake Until Golden Brown
This usually takes about 45 minutes for me but it could take more or less time depending on your oven. You want to look for a golden-brown color like this:
After about 30 minutes, put a knife or a Skewer into the deepest spot and then remove it. If no batter or cake remains on the utensil, then your cake is done! It should come out like this:
8. Flip Upside Down To Cool The Cake
This is an odd tip but trust me!
Remove the cake from the oven and then place a plate over the top of the pan.
Then, carefully flip the cake pan and plate combination upside down so that the plate is right-side up and the cake pan is on top of it upside down.
Let it cool in this position. This will help prevent the cake from collapsing as it cools! (Neat right?)
When it’s cool , just run a knife around the edge and it will slide right out!
9. EAT !
Okay! Once it’s cooled you can remove the cake from the pan and enjoy!
For this cake, I warmed up a jar of frosting so that it became liquid-y (yes, that’s a technical term of course!). I then drizzled it along the top. Then i topped with chocolate chips and sprinkles! Yummy right?
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So how do you like it? I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe and the tutorial!