Introduction: Sponge Cake

This light, fluffy sponge cake is super simple to make and compliments almost any topping! Always a crowd-pleaser and gone in minutes!

Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Step 1: Ingredients, Equipment, Cook Time, Cost, and Warnings

Ingredients
Dry
1 cup White Cake Mix
1/8th teaspoon Salt
1/4th cup White Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Wet
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
4-5 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Whole Milk
Foam
4-5 Egg Whites
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar (This can be bought in the spice section of most supermarkets)
1/2 cup White Sugar
Additional
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Assorted Fruits (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapples,... etc.)
Whipped Cream

Equipment
2 Baking Pans (9.3 x 5.2 x 2.7 in. or 9 x 9 in. or 8 x 8 in.)
3 Large Bowls
Electric Hand Mixer
Baking Spatula
Whisk
Measuring Cups
Knife
Cooking Spray (Pam)

Cook Time
Preparation
25 Minutes
Bake and Design Time
45 Minutes
Total
1 Hour 10 Minutes

Cost
Everything should cost under $10.00. The Cream of Tartar and Vanilla Extract are a little more specialized, so together they will be around $5.00.

Warnings
Better to over-mix the egg whites than to under-mix them.
Place Milk and Eggs back into the refrigerator when not in use.
Knives are sharp. Take care not to touch the edges.
Keep hair tied up while using the Electric Hand Mixer.
Cake will rise. Overfilling the pan may result in batter spilling out while baking.

Step 2: Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees

Once all the ingredients are gathered, preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Dry: Mix Dry Ingredients

Place all the dry ingredients (1 cup White Cake Mix, 1/8th teaspoon Salt, 1/4th cup Sugar, 2 teaspoons Baking Powder) into one large bowl and lightly mix together. For smoother mixing, use a sieve to break up any large chunks of flour.

Step 4: Separate Egg Whites and Yolks

This step requires a little bit of skill.
Separate the egg whites and yolks by cracking open the egg shell into two separate halves. Then gently pour the egg yolk from one half of the shell to the other, repeatedly, until all of the egg white has dripped into the bowl.
CAUTION: Do not allow any egg yolk to get into the egg white bowl. Having too much egg yolk within the egg white bowl will make peaking the egg whites (shown in next step) much more difficult.
SAVE both the egg yolks and whites! Both will be used for the completion of this cake.

Step 5: Foam: Beating the Egg Whites

Use the Electric Hand Mixer to beat the egg whites. This will allow air to be mixed into the egg white, making the mixture expand and grow in volume. Once it begins to foam, add the 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar. This will help the peaks form. As the mixture thickens, slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar in 4 increments, about 1/8th cup at a time. Continue mixing the egg whites until stiff peaks form (this should take at least 8 minutes on the maximum speed setting of the Hand Mixer). The peaks should remain even after the mixer is taken out of the egg white foam (as shown in the picture).
Set this aside for use in a later step.

Step 6: Wet: Add the Rest of the Wet Ingredients to the Egg Yolks

To the bowl full of egg yolks, add the 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup milk. Whisk these together until an even mixture is formed.

Step 7: Add the Wet Ingredients to the Dry Ingredients

Add the evened egg yolk-oil-milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Whisk together until no flour chunks can be seen in the batter.

Step 8: Fold the Foam Into the Batter

GENTLY scoop the foam into the batter mixture. Fold the batter into the foam with the spatula until the two separate components become one. Add the 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract at this point by gently mixing.
CAUTION: It is extremely easy to over-fold or disturb the foam. Doing so will deflate the foam and the resulting cake will not be airy and fluffy. Mix as softly as possible without creating any air pockets or bubbles.

Step 9: Bake at 350 for 35 Minutes

Pour the batter into a pre-sprayed cake tin or pan. If the batter fills more than halfway from the top of the pan, place the rest of the batter into another pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size of the pan, the cook time will range from between 25-40 minutes.
With two 9.3 x 5.2 x 2.7 in. cake pans, the cook time was about 38 minutes.
An 8 x 8 in. pan should take around 30 minutes.
A 9 x 9 in. pan should take around 25 minutes.
TIP: Use a wooden chopstick or toothpick to poke all the way through the middle of the cake when it is approximately finished cooking. If any cake sticks to the chopstick or toothpick when it is removed, continue to cook the cake for 1-2 minutes more. Then try the chopstick/toothpick again until it comes out clean.
Because the pan was sprayed with non-stick spray, removal of the cake should be relatively simple. Run a spatula or knife down the sides of the pan and invert the pan onto a plate or paper towel.
CAUTION: If ample time is not allowed for the pan to cook down, it WILL be hot. Use oven mitts or towels to handle the pan.

Step 10: Add Toppings and Enjoy

Once the cake is removed from the tin or pan, portion the cake and add the fruits and whipped cream. This cake is very versatile, so this is the point in which to personalize the cake. It is even possible to treat this cake as a sheet cake, cutting its height in half to add a layer of cream cheese or frosting between the layers of cake. Enjoy this light, fluffy cake!

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