Sponge Cake

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

sponge cake a light cake made by the whisking method in which egg yolks are beaten with sugar, then flour and other ingredients added; see also cake-making.

The term ‘sponge cake’ probably came into use during the 18th century, although the OED has no reference earlier than a letter Jane Austen wrote in 1808 (she evidently liked sponge cakes). Mrs Eales (1718) and Nathan Bailey in his Dictionarium Domesticum (1736), however, talk of ‘spunge biscuit’, evidently meaning Savoy or boudoir biscuits.

Two alternative methods of whisking are recognized. The first is usually called by its French name, Génoise. The second method produces savoy cake/gateau/biscuit.