Tender, soft, light, and fluffy Chocolate Sponge Cake is the ultimate cake for layer cakes, jelly roll cakes, cupcakes, and even as a simple snack.
This chocolate cake recipe is perfect for cake layers when you need an impressive cake for a special occasion or as a birthday cake, like this Chocolate Drip cake. The cake soaks up syrups and is a great way to incorporate different flavors.
What Is Chocolate Sponge
Also known as a souffle cake, traditional sponge cake has simple ingredients: flour, eggs, sugar, and sometimes butter. The cake is made by whipping the eggs and sugar until triple in volume then the rest of the ingredients are gently folded. This aeration method gives the cake an airy texture and spongy quality, so there is no need for baking powder or another leavening agent.
Sponge cake comes in wide varieties, and different recipes call for different ingredients and baking processes—for example, chocolate chiffon cake calls for separated eggs and an addition of liquid. Angel food cake only calls for egg whites, and Medeliens cookies are cooled twice before baking time.
Below is a list of the ingredients needed for the perfect sponge cake; I listed any substitutions when possible.
- Large Eggs. The eggs must be at room temperature. Cold eggs will not whip or trap air; we will have a dense, compact cake.
- Granulated sugar. Do not reduce the amount of sugar, it soaks up the water from the eggs, allowing them to triple in volume, and it provides moisture to the cake.
- Cake flour. All-purpose flour will not work for this recipe; if you do not have cake flour available, use bleached all-purpose flour.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch minimizes gluten development and provides a tender, easy-to-bite texture, and since starches soak in liquids, it will help the cake soaks in any syrups like a sponge. It can be replaced with the same amount of cake flour.
- Natural unsweetened cocoa powder. It provides the best chocolate flavor, but you can also use dutch processed cocoa powder.
- Melted butter. Butter is optional but recommended. You can also use vegetable oil.
How to make chocolate sponge cake
Making this recipe is straightforward and fairly easy; carefully read the instructions and expert tips for the best results.
Time needed: 40 minutes
- Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl.
Make sure to use the whisk attachment.
- Whip on high
Until the mixture has tripled in volume, it is light in color, and a thick ribbon drizzles down the whisk. This can take up to 10 minutes.
- Sift and Fold
Sift the dry ingredients three times, then gently fold into the egg mixture following the melted butter.
The batter between the cake pans and bake over the middle rack.
The cake loses its freshness relatively fast, so I recommend serving it no later than the next day after baking.
To freeze, gently wrap the cake with plastic wrap and freeze for up to four weeks.
- Use a kitchen scale (affiliate) to measure the ingredients; too much or too little will break the recipe.
- You can use a stand mixer or an electric mixer.
- Plan and make sure the eggs are at room temperature. Place the eggs under warm running water and let them soak from the refrigerator for 15 minutes or more if cold.
- When folding the flour and butter into the batter, use a rubber spatula and reach to the bottom of the bowl. Since the egg mixture is so light, the flour and butter tend to sink down
- Do not open the oven door mid-baking; the cake will collapse at the center.
- Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper for an easy invert.
- If assembling a layer cake, allow the cake to cool completely before slicing, filling, and frosting.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee to the flour mixture for an intense chocolate flavor.
Slicing sponge cake tip
Place a book with the thickness you wish next to the cake and slice the cake with the serrated knife leaning on the book. Move the book as you slice.
Opening the oven’s door mid-baking will cause the cake to collapse at the center.
Cold eggs do not trap the air well; the air bubbles deflate if you stir the dry ingredients instead of folding them.
No, the refrigerator extracts moisture from the cake and dries it.
Yes, genoise sponge cakes are sponge cakes with the addition of butter.
No, chocolate chips are heavier than the batter and will sink to the bottom of the cake.
After, right before filling and layering the cake.
More Chocolate Recipes You Might Enjoy
Chocolate Sponge Cake
Light and airy sponge cake, chocolate flavored
- 6 Large Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Cup Granulated sugar (200g)
- 2/3 Cup Cake flour (80g)
- 1/3 Cup Unsaweetened cocoa powder (35g)
- 1/2 Cup Corn Starch (50g)
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted melted butter (55g)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and line one or two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
Whip the eggs and sugar over high speed until tripled in volume, and you have a pale yellow mixture. This can take up to 10 minutes.
While the eggs are whipping, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt three times.
Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in three parts. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
Gently fold in the melted butter.
Bake at 350F (180C) over the middle oven rack for 28 minutes if baking one cake, or 25 minutes if baking two cakes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before inverting, slicing or decorating.
- For best results, use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients.
- Essential that the eggs are at room temperature; otherwise, the cake will be dense and not rise so high.
- Use a flexible rubber spatula to fold the ingredients, and make sure to reach the bottom of the bowl. The dry ingredients sink to the bottom; you want to reach it all.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavors.
- Do not open the oven door mid baking, the cake will sink at the bottom.