Learn how to make a soft, airy, moist, and sturdy genoise sponge cake with these detailed step-by-step instructions. It is perfect as a base for any celebration cakes you want to make.
A classic genoise with some modifications to make it even better
Classic genoise only uses flour, sugar, pinch of salt. Usually no oil is used. While this is okay, I find that genoise made with this very basic ingredients, dry out so quickly. Even when I don’t overbake it or when I brush with simple syrup before using it as a cake base. Well, it makes sense, there’s no other moisturizers like milk and/or oil in the recipe and it is cooked in a dry heat. So, I have tested many genoise sponge and the version I’m sharing here, use few more ingredients compared to classic genoise. There are honey, butter, and milk added. The result? such a moist, flavorful, and sturdy genoise.
The recipe rundown
Taste: This cake is not overly sweet. It’s a great basic sponge cake
Texture: Soft, airy, and spongey
Pros: You don’t have to deal with water-bath and whipping meringue
Cons: You need a mixer or a stand mixer to be able to make this cake with a good result
I used medium-size eggs, which is weighed about 58-60 grams each with a shell
2. Granulated sugar
This recipe yields just the right amount of sweetness. A basic sponge cake like this is usually used as a base for other frosted cakes, so I don’t want to make it too sweet.
Honey adds a nice flavor and also helps to retain moisture
4. Cake flour
Using cake flour will give you softer crumbs compared to using all-purpose flour
Unsalted butter is used for that nice buttery aroma, but not overly so
I use whole milk for that extra richness. Genoise sponge dries up quickly and so the addition of whole milk helps to retain that moisture better
7. Vanilla extract
Since this is a basic sponge cake that I will use to make another layered cake, I usually just put vanilla extract. You can omit or use another flavor you like
A pinch of salt will round up the overall flavor nicely
Tips for success
1. Warm up the eggs, milk, and butter
Warming up the eggs helps to incorporate air into the cake batter, resulting in fluffy and airy genoise. The hot milk and butter also help to temper the eggs in the cake batter to give you a genoise with really nice texture. Soft, moist, and airy cake.
2. Measure ingredients with a scale when applicable
Before I got into baking, getting a scale sounded like too serious of a thing. Now, I can’t imagine my baking life without it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned my lesson that precision is of paramount importance when it comes to baking
3. Use a good-quality aluminum pan
I love baking cakes using an aluminum pan. It transfers heat so much better and my cake doesn’t turn out too dark as it used anymore
4. Make sure you beat the eggs and sugar until a ribbon stage
This is one of the keys to success when you use the whole-egg method. The ribbon stage means when you lift up the beater, the batter that drops down will leave a trail that won’t disappear immediately. It stays for a minute before slowly disappears.
5. Know your oven
My oven is a conventional oven using bottom heat. Every oven can be different, so you need to know yours. You can always use an oven thermometer to check and make sure your oven temperature is accurate too.
How to make easy vanilla sponge cake (whole-egg method)
1. Preheat oven to 330 F (165 C). If your oven has top and bottom heat, you want to lower the temperature by 10-15 degrees. Put eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
2. Beat on medium speed (speed 4 on KA) for 1 minute using a whisk attachment and then increase to high speed (speed 8). Beat until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale. When you lift the batter with the whisk, the batter that drops down will leave a trail that remains visible for about a minute before slowly disappearing. You have to beat it to this ribbon stage or the cake will not turn out right
3. Once it has reached the ribbon stage, turn off the mixer. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and very gently but work efficiently, fold the flour mixture into the batter using a rubber spatula using a swipe down and fold over method. Then add the next batch of flour and continue to fold.
4. Once you no longer see any loose flour in the batter, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the batter into a different bowl. Add oil and stir to combine thoroughly
5. Pour this mixture gently over the batter and use a spatula to fold again until combined. Make sure they are thoroughly combined into the batter or your cake will have separate layers later
6. Pour the well-combined batter into the prepared pan. Use a skewer and do a zig zag pattern on the batter to pop any large bubbles.
7. Place the pan on the middle rack Place the pan on the middle rack. For 6-inch cake, bake for 20-25 minutes, for 7 and 8-inch cake, bake for 25-30 minutes. For 9-inch cake bake for 30-35 minutes. Do a test by using a skewer and poke into the middle of the cake. It should come out clean with few crumbs are okay, as long as it’s no longer wet
8. The cake will gradually rise and has a dome top during baking
9. Once the cake is done baking in the oven. Turn off the oven. DO NOT open the oven door yet. Let the cake cools down in the oven for 10 minutes.
You can see that the top of the cake has gradually flattened during this cool down
10. Then remove from the oven and cool down in the pan on the counter for another 10 minutes
11. Loosen the edge with an offset spatula
12. Turn it upside down into a cooling rack and let the cake cool down completely upside down, this will help to flatten the top of the cake if it’s slightly dome or you can leave it to cool without turning upside down
What can I use this basic vanilla sponge cake for?
1. Layered cake/sandwich cake
Sponge cake like this is great for layered cake/sandwich cake. The cake is about 3 inches tall and great for 2 or 3 layer cake
3. Eat as is
In Asia, we love to eat a vanilla sponge cake like this on its own with a cuppa!
Did you make this Easy Vanilla Sponge Cake (Whole Egg Method) recipe?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
This mango sponge layer cream cake is made using this genoise sponge cake recipe
Easy Genoise Sponge Cake
For 6-inch round cake: (which is the one I baked)
For 7-inch round cake:
Things to prepare before you start baking and preparing the cake batter:
- Preheat oven to 330 F (165 C). My oven is conventional with bottom heat no fan. If you use convection with top and bottom heat, please adjust accordingly. You may need to lower the temperature by 15-20 degrees. Make sure the oven is preheated for at least 15 minutes before you start baking
- Please note that I bake using a 3-inch deep pan. You can get 3 layers of cake or 2 thicker layers. You can bake using two 2-inch deep pan too to get 2 layers of cake
- Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the side of the pan so it can have a good height
- Sift cake flour and salt and mix to combine. Sifting will get rid of the lump when you fold in the flour into the cake batter later
- Place the milk and butter in a heat-proof bowl and set aside
Prepare the cake batter
Warm up the eggs:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Put eggs, sugar, and honey in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then put this mixing bowl on to of the pot (like a water bath) and start whisking again until sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm when you dip your finger in the mixture. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should be about 40 C (105 F). The purpose of this step is so that the protein of the eggs is able to capture the air that we need to make fluffy and soft genoise
- If you use a stand mixer, transfer to the bowl of stand mixer immediately and start whipping with a whisk attachment on high speed (speed 8 on KA) until the mixture is thick, pale, and creamy. When you lift the batter with the whisk, the batter that drops down will leave a trail that remains visible for about a minute before slowly disappearing. We call this a ribbon stage. You have to beat it to this ribbon stage or the cake will not turn out right
- Bring the pot of water to a boil again and remove from the heat. Place the bowl of milk and butter you prepared earlier in the hot water bath to allow the butter to melt and the milk to warm up. The mixture should be about 60 C (140 F). Add the vanilla extract in and stir to combine
Fold the flour mixture into the batter:
- Once it has reached the ribbon stage, turn off the mixer. Sift in 1/3 of the flour mixture and very gently but work efficiently, fold the flour mixture into the batter using a rubber spatula using a swipe down and fold over method as you turn the bowl while doing this. Then add the next batch of flour and continue to fold.
Fold the butter mixture into the batter:
- Once you no longer see any loose flour in the batter, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the batter into the melted butter mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly. Pour this mixture gently over the batter and use a spatula to fold again until combined. Make sure they are thoroughly combined into the batter or your cake will have separate layers later
- Pour the well-combined batter into the prepared pan from a height. Use a skewer and do a zig zag pattern on the batter to pop any large bubbles. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to pop any large bubbles that are trapped inside the cake batter. Place the pan on the middle rack.
- Put the pan in the middle rack and bake
- Do not open the oven door for the first 30 minutes however. The cake will rise and has a dome top during baking but it will shrink a bit after being cooled down and has a nice flat top without any crack
- If you use a deep round pan, about 3-inch tall like me, for 6-inch cake, bake for 35-40 minutes, for 7 inch cake, bake for 45-50 minutes. For 8-inch cake bake for 50-55 minutes.
- If you use a 2-inch tall pan instead, reduce the baking time by 5-8 minutes and since every oven can be different and you know your oven best, check for doneness
Check for doneness:
- Do a finger test by gently pressing on the center of the cake. It should spring back. If it leaves indentation, bake for another 5 minutes and test again. You can also test with using a skewer and poke into the middle of the cake. It should come out clean with few crumbs are okay, as long as it's no longer wet
- Once the cake is done baking in the oven, loosen the edge with an offset spatula and turn it upside down into a cooling rack and let it cool down in this position for 5 minutes, this will help to flatten the top of the cake and to get a homogenous crumbs and texture. Then turn the cake back up and let it cool down completely before slicing
- The cake is ready to be used once they have cooled down completely. Wrap them up in a cling wrap if it has cooled down completely and you won't be using it on the same day. They can be kept at room temperature for 3 days
- For longer storage, wrap it well with a cling wrap and then put in the freezer bag, push all the air out and store it in the freezer for one month. Simply thaw at room temperature for few hours before decorating your cake
- I recommend cutting a sponge cake with serrated knife using a sawing motion