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Sponge Cake

"After baking countless cakes over the past 11 years for our pages, I've come back around to appreciating the versatility of a sponge cake,” says Jennifer Aaronson, editorial director of food and entertaining. See the test kitchen’s step-by-step guide to making sponge cake and discover three ways to use this flexible favorite.

  • prep: 25 mins
    total time: 50 mins
  • yield: Makes two 9-inch cake rounds or two 12-by-17-inch sheets of cake
Photography: Marcus Nilsson

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for pans
  • 9 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Cook's Note

Jennifer Aaronson uses this recipe for her go-to ice cream cake. She simply spreads softened ice cream onto a sheet of cake before rerolling it, then freezes it until the ice cream hardens.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans or two 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheets. Line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment and flour pans, tapping out excess flour. Whisk together egg yolks and 1 cup granulated sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and thick enough to form a ribbon that dissolves onto itself, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt; transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Step 2

    Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold one third of egg whites into yolks, then gently fold in remaining whites. Sift flour over top and gently start to fold in. When nearly all is folded in, pour melted butter down side of bowl and fold just until incorporated and smooth.

  3. Step 3

    Divide batter among pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes for rounds, or 15 minutes for sheets, rotating and switching racks halfway through. If baking in round pans, immediately invert cake and remove parchment, then reinvert and cool right side up. If using baking sheets and making a rolled cake, immediately invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioner's sugar. Dust top of cake with confectioner's sugar and roll up in towel. Let cool completely, about 1 hour, before unrolling and spreading with filling.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, June 2013

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Reviews (2)

  • 22 Jun, 2013

    Great sponge cake recipe, works perfect. I did some variations to make a "Light Dessert". Substituted half of sugar by Splenda and instead of butter used Blue Bonnett. I used as a roll cake with light cream and splenda, strawberries, and add the juices of the strawberries to moist a little the sponge. The dessert was delicious and my husband could enjoy a little as a diabetic. Next time I will make just for him a full Splenda version, for those who don´t take sugar.

  • 25 May, 2013

    Would love to have the step by step pictures online, as they are featured in the magazine. Thanks in advance!