Japanese sponge cake is very light and fluffy. It is a very important component for Japanese Western-style sweets.
We have mainly two kinds of sweets in Japan: Japanese-style (Wagashi) and Western-style (Yogashi). And even though we call it roughly “Western”, modern Western-style cakes and pastries are heavily and almost exclusively influenced by French desserts. There are cake and bake shops in every corner of cities in Japan, often selling many different kinds of cakes by the slice or in individual servings. Cakes are a significant part of life in Japan. We eat cakes for any celebratory events, from birthdays to Christmas to just visiting your family and friends.
Just like French sponge cakes called génoise, this recipe doesn’t have any leavenings such as baking powder. The batter rises in the oven because of well beaten eggs. Sponge cakes are a little drier than some other cakes which can be eaten by themselves, like chiffon cakes. However, sponge cakes are supposed to be assembled with syrup and cream and can absorb moisture from these other components.
There are 3 points to success: exact measurements of ingredients, whipping the eggs until very thick, and not mixing too much and deflating the bubbles from the eggs. Getting sponge cake to turn out the way you want can be a little tricky, but if you prepare and keep these 3 things in mind, your cake will come out beautifully. So read the recipe and watch our video a few times, get all the ingredients measured and ready ahead of time (yes, seriously), and you’ll have a beautiful cake at home!
(Note: This recipe makes one 7″ cake. A double recipe makes a 10″ cake.)
See Strawberry Shortcake recipe for decorating idea.
- 20 g butter
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 90 g cake flour
- 3 eggs
- 90 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) at least 20 minutes before. Line a 7" cake pan with parchment paper (bottom and side). Put butter and milk In a small bowl and microwave until the butter melts. In another bowl, sift the cake flour 2 times. Set aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs and sugar. Over a double boiler (placing the bowl over a pot with simmering water on low heat), whisk the egg mixture until it becomes lukewarm (until the sugar dissolves). Then set the bowl on the stand mixer, and whip the egg mixture until very thick (watch video to see the texture). Add vanilla and mix.
- Add sifted cake flour in 3 parts. Fold in the first one-third of the flour by hand with a spatula (not with the mixer). After the flour is incorporated, add the next part of flour and again fold in with the spatula. Repeat. Next, add the mixture of melted butter and milk and fold in with the spatula.
- Put the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Take the cake out from the oven and leave for 15 minutes. Finally, remove the cake from the cake pan.