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Basic Sponge Cake

Sponge cakes are light and airy, leavened primarily with beaten eggs and they do not contain fat. Sponge cakes can be served alone with a little powdered sugar like this one, or they can be accompanied by whipped cream, lemon curd, or even chocolate sauce.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 to 45 minutes
  • Yield: One 12 by 17-inch sheet cake


  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/12 cups sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

    Line a 12 by 17-inch baking sheet pan and grease with 2 teaspoons butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar, tapping out any excess sugar.

    Put the egg yolks and 3/4 cups of sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk over a saucepan of simmering water until the sugar has disolved and the mixture is warm, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on the standing mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, thick, and has tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the salt, vanilla and almond extract. Spoon into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  

  • In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cups sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are shiny and just form stiff peaks.

  • Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg yolk mixture and fold until it is smooth.Then add some of the egg whites and whisk together gently just to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Do not overmix the batter or the eggs will deflate and the batter won't rise.  

    Pour the cake batter evenly into the pan and bake until the cakes spring back when touched, about 15 minutes. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with powdered sugar. Using a thin spatula or knife, loosen the edges of the cakes, then flip onto the paper. Cool completely.

    The cakes can be served plain with a dusting of powdered sugar, fresh fruit or whipped cream. The cake can also be covered  and stored for a few days, or it can be frozen.