Light Sponge Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    16¾ by 11¾ by ½ inch rectangle

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 450°F/230°C
Baking Time 7 to 10 minutes

This versatile cake, which is used in varying ways for several recipes throughout the book, takes about 10 minutes to mix and 10 minutes or less to bake. It is a slender, airy, yet velvety cake layer containing no fat other than that from the egg yolks, making it sturdy enough to absorb moisture from other components without falling apart. The following recipe gives instructions for baking the cake in a half sheet pan. The cake can also be made in two 10 inch round cake or inch round tart pans, which are ideal for making two round cake bases. One base can be used for the recipe, while the other can be frozen for future use. Individual recipes will specify modifications to this recipe.

This recipe is a component of:



bleached cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) cup (or ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons), sifted into the cup and leveled off 1.2 ounces 33 grams
cornstarch tablespoons . 22 grams
5 (to 8) large eggs, separated, at room temperature
yolks ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (89 ml) 3.3 ounces 93 grams
whites (about 4) ½ cup (118 ml), divided 4.2 ounces 120 grams
superfine sugar ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon, divided 4 ounces 113 grams
pure vanilla extract ¾ teaspoon (3.7 ml) . .
cream of tartar ¼ teaspoon . 0.8 gram

Special Equipment

One 17¼ by 12¼ by 1 inch half sheet pan, bottom coated with shortening, then lined with parchment (cut the parchment to extend 1 inch past one of the long sides of the pan) coated with baking spray with flour | One large uncoated wire rack | One baking sheet or extra half sheet pan (inverted), lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray


Preheat the Oven

Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.

Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch until well combined.

Mix the Egg Mixture

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, place the egg yolks, half of the egg whites (¼ cup/59 ml/2.1 ounces/60 grams), and ½ cup/3.5 ounces/100 grams of the sugar. Beat on high speed until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed and beat in the vanilla. If you don’t have a second mixer bowl, scrape this mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the mixer bowl and whisk beater to remove any trace of oil.

Make the Batter

Sift half of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and, using a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or silicone spatula, fold it in gently but rapidly until almost all of the flour has disappeared. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture until all traces of the flour have disappeared.

Beat the Egg Whites into a Stiff Meringue

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the remaining egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.

Add the Meringue to the Batter

Using a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or large silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth it as evenly as possible.

Bake the Cake

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Have ready a small sharp knife.

Unmold and Cool the Cake

If necessary, loosen the sides with the tip of the sharp knife. Unmold the cake at once. Slip a small offset spatula under the narrow edge of the parchment to loosen it. Grasp the parchment and gently slide the cake onto the large uncoated wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the baking sheet or inverted half sheet pan and peel off the parchment.


Airtight: in a single layer, room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months. Once frozen, multiple layers (if baking in two round cake or tart pans) can be stacked and placed in freezer bags.

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