Italian Sponge Cake

Sponge cakes can be tricky and for some folks perfect sponge cake is still a mystery.

But with this classic Italian sponge cake recipe it just CAN’T go wrong.

Soft, delicate and fluffy it’s perfect sponge base for any cake.

But even in its plain version it’s absolutely irresistible.

Just dust it with powdered sugar and serve with a hot cup of coffee ☕ (or tea 🍵)

Note, there’s no soda or baking powder added in this cake!

Yet it turns out absolutely amazing and I’m sharing ALL the secrets to it below ⬇

The BEST Sponge Cake Recipe {No baking powder, no butter}

Few simple ground rules that are not to be broken.

Follow them to a T and you’ll have a perfect sponge cake every single time. Guaranteed!

  1. Beat eggs and sugar for 10 to 15  minutes, NOT less. You’ll notice how they become considerably thicker close to 15 minute mark. The batter should be very foamy and puffy, not runny. This is THE secret to a SUPER fluffy sponge cake WITHOUT baking powder.
  2. Add in the flour and corn starch gradually.
  3. Always sift flour and corn starch before incorporating it into the eggs. Fold it well and thouroughly to make sure there’s no flour left at the bottom on on the sides of the bowl.
  4. Bake the cake once the batter is ready. Never let it sit for too long.
  5. Always place sponge cake in a preheated to 320F oven.
  6. Never open the oven door to check on the cake until towards the end.

EXTRA TIP: use a stand mixer to beat the eggs. But you can still do it just as well with hand-held one.

Now your turn 😉

The BEST Sponge Cake Recipe {No baking powder, no butter}
4 from 1 vote

Italian Sponge Cake

Soft, delicate and fluffy it’s perfect sponge base for any cake.
But even in its plain version it’s absolutely irresistible
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Servings: 10


  • 5 eggs room temperature
  • cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • Pinch of salt

Decoration (optional)

  • Confectioners sugar


  • Stand Mixer
  • 9-10 inch Baking Pan
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Parchment Paper Liners


  • Preheat oven to 320F.
  • Beat eggs with a pinch of salt until foamy. Start adding sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Add next portion once previous sugar has been dissolved.
  • Continue beating egg and sugar mix for 10 more minutes (should take around 15 minutes total).
    Stand mixer will be really handy.
  • Mix corn starch with flour.Start sifting in corn starch and flour mix into the beaten eggs. Fold it gently moving your spatula from the bottom to the top. Once first portion of flour mix is incorporated, add in another portion. Continue until you have used all the mix.
    As a result you should get very light and airy batter.
  • Grease and flour the baking pan, remove access flour.
    Or use a parchment paper liner instead.
  • Pour in the sponge cake batter into the pan.
    Level with a spatula if needed.
  • Bake in a preheated to 320F oven for 40-50 minutes.
  • Do a toothpick test at 40 minute mark. If toothpick come out dry (not sticky and without any crumbs stuck to it) sponge cake is ready. Otherwise leave for another 5-10 minutes.
    Of course, look for nice light golden brown color as well.
  • Take the pan out of the oven and let the cake cool before taking it out.
    Dust with powdered sugar and serve or use further in the other recipe.


This quantity of ingredients is enough for 9-10 inch cake pan. You can even get away with a large pan but sponge cake will be thinner. Perfect if you just need one layer or going to enjoy it plain.

Did you know: In Italian name for sponge cake is “pan di spagna”

The BEST Sponge Cake Recipe {No baking powder, no butter}

You can make all sort of cakes with this plain base.

And here’s one of my favorite one: Lemon Layer Cake with Mascarpone And Lemon Curd


  1. If I use cake flour instead, do I simply eliminate the cornstarch but use the same amount
    of flour?
    ..also do I triple the recipe for three layers, or does this one cake get tall enough to cut the layers from it?

    1. Hi Deborah, great question! You can totally use cake flour. In this case you’ll need total 1 cup packed (150g).
      This dose is enough for a 9-10 inch pan, the cake will be high enough to slice into 2 layers.
      If you need to make 3 layers use the following dose:
      8 eggs (room temperature)
      1 1/4 cup sugar (240g)
      1 2/3 cup cake flour (240g)
      Pinch of salt
      Vanilla extract or lemon zest (optional)

      If you have a pan large than 10 inches make a double dose from the original recipe, divide the batter in 3 parts and bake each part separately.
      Hope it helps! 🙂

  2. I have a couple of questions. When you say, pack the cake flour, does that mean to press it down like you would brown sugar? Also, don’t the layers have to be cooked at the same time or the batter will deflate? I want to prepare this cake as layers for a tiramisu cake.

    1. Hi Ines, I cup cake flour packed means you scoop it with a cup instead of adding flour to the measuring cup with a spoon, which is a standard method for cup measurement. Scooping directly with a cup will yield to more flour in weight equivalent (about 150 grams).
      Having said that, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale when baking. This really eliminates all the guesswork and sets all baking to success.
      As to cooking multiple layers – ideally you’ll fit both pans in the oven simultaneously. But if it’s not possible don’t worry. Bake the remaining batter as soon as the first one is out. Hope this helps!

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