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    Light & Airy Chocolate Sponge Cake

    This better than bakery chocolate sponge cake recipe is light, airy, moist and just straight up DELICIOUS! Paired with my homemade raspberry jam filling, and chocolate whipped cream, you are going to simply fall in love with this cake! This recipe is based on my original light and airy sponge cake 🙂

    Chocolate sponge cake

    What is a chocolate sponge cake?

    A chocolate sponge cake is basically a regular sponge cake, but with cocoa added in. It’s a light and airy cake that is made primarily from whipped egg whites. Unlike other types of cake, such as butter or oil cakes, sponge cakes do not contain much fat which contributes to it’s light texture.

    Much like regular sponge cakes, chocolate sponge cakes are often used as a base for other desserts, such as layered cakes, trifle, or as a component in various French-style pastries. It can also be served on its own, dusted with powdered sugar or paired with fresh fruit and whipped cream like a Victorian sponge cake (which is how I love mine!).

    What makes this recipe stand out?

    Much like my original sponge cake recipe, the simple reason behind this truly light and ‘better than bakery’ sponge cake is that… I don’t use that much flour!

    Some flour is needed to help with the structure of the cake, however many recipes I’ve tried I feel use way too much and just end up being too heavy (almost like a regular cake). What I’ve done instead is substituted a lot of the flour with cornstarch, which helps thicken the batter without forming more gluten than we need. This results in the softest, airiest, bakery like sponge cake!

    How to make chocolate sponge cake

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – sponge cakes can be tricky! BUT, they are totally doable. I’ve tried to provide as much detail as possible in my written recipe so that you have the best chances of success!

    Begin by preheating your oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 2 on recipe card if you don’t have a fan function) and line the bottom of two 8×3 inch baking tins with baking paper without greasing the bottom. Leave the sides of the cake tins ungreased and bare (do not line with baking paper). This will prevent the cakes from shrinking once they’re baked.

    chocolate sponge cake

    In a bowl combine your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder and salt. Mix until well combined (you do not need to sift it yet). Set aside.

    In a medium sized bowl add in egg whites and white vinegar, and using a hand or stand mixer, whip on a medium high speed for 30 seconds until foamy. Gradually add in 1/3 cup of the sugar and then continue mixing for a further 2 minutes. Then turn your mixer down to low and mix for a further minute (about 4 minutes of mixing altogether). You should end up with stiff peaks (see note 3 on recipe card). Set aside.

    chocolate sponge cake

    In a large bowl add in your remaining 1/3 cup of white sugar and warm water. Mix so that the sugar is coated in the water. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla, and with a hand or stand mixer, whip on a medium high speed for 4 minutes, and then turn the mixer down to low and mix for a further minute (5 minutes of mixing altogether). Your mixture should now be thick and you should be able to create ribbons with it when you lift it up with a spoon.

    Stream the vegetable oil into the egg yolk mixture while mixing on a medium speed. Mix until well combined.

    chocolate sponge cake

    Add in half or your egg whites to your egg yolk mixture, and using a spatula gently fold together until just combined. Then sift in your dry ingredients, and gently fold through until just combined.

    Finish off by adding in the remaining egg whites and gently fold until just combined. You can use your spatula to break up any large chunks of unmixed egg whites but try not to push out too many of the air bubbles and do not overmix.

    chocolate sponge cake

     

    chocolate sponge cake

    Distribute the batter into your baking tins and then tap your baking tins lightly on your counter. Then run a thin knife or toothpick through the batter to remove any large air bubbles and then bake for 25 minutes. To test whether they’re done, gently touch the tops and it should create a little indent which slowly bounces back.

    Once the sponges are done, immediately tap them on the counter from a height of about 10cm, and lay them upside down (while still in their baking tins) on a wire rack to completely cool (see note 4 on recipe card).

    Once cooled (about an hour later), run a thin knife around the edges to release the cakes from the cake tins, and then turn them out onto a wire rack.

    To make my cake layers look nice and neat, I gently rub my fingers around the edges and the top and that removes the dark crust on the sides and tops of the cake (see video for demonstration).

    chocolate sponge cake

    APPLY SIMPLE SYRUP: Combine sugar and hot water together for the simple syrup and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the top and sides of the sponges with the simple syrup (see note 5 on recipe card).

    chocolate sponge cake

    Cake filling options

    To fill my sponge cake I like to whip up a batch of my raspberry jam filling and make some chocolate whipped cream!

    For the raspberry filling head to my raspberry filling recipe 🙂

    For the chocolate whipped cream, in a large bowl add in the whipped cream, icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Whip until you reach stiff peaks. Be careful not to overwhip the cream.

    chocolate sponge cake

    You can decorate your sponge cake however you like 🙂 but below is how I do mine.

    Place one sponge cake layer down, and cover the top with a thin layer of my raspberry jam filling.

    Place strawberries on top (I like to cut mine in half and place them upside down). Cover with generous amount of whipped cream and spread it out evenly with an offset spatula or knife.

    Place your next sponge cake layer on top and then cover with more whipped cream. Finish decorating with more strawberries on top. Enjoy!

    chocolate sponge cake

    Chocolate sponge cake

    Light & Airy Chocolate Sponge Cake Recipe

    This better than bakery chocolate sponge cake recipe is light, airy, and just straight up DELICIOUS! Paired with my homemade raspberry jam filling, and chocolate whipped cream, you are going to simply fall in love with this cake! This recipe is based on my original light and airy sponge cake 🙂
    5 from 16 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
    Servings: 12 people

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Sponge Cake

    • 2 tbsp (15 g) flour - regular, all purpose (see note 1)
    • cup (40 g) cornstarch
    • ¼ tsp baking powder
    • 2 tbsp (16 g) cocoa powder - unsweetened
    • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 4 large eggs - whites and yolks separated, room temperature
    • tsp white vinegar
    • cup (132 g) white granulated sugar - separated in half (1/3 for the egg whites & 1/3 for the egg yolk mixture)
    • tbsp warm water - not boiling
    • 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • 2 tbsp (30 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola

    Simple Syrup

    • ¼ cup (50 g) white granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup (55 g) boiling water

    Whipping Cream

    • 2 cups (375 g) cold whipping cream
    • 3 tbsp (28 g) icing sugar - also known as confectioners sugar/powdered sugar
    • 3 tbsp (22 g) cocoa powder - unsweetened
    • ½ tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • 1 punnet fresh strawberries for decorating

    Raspberry Jam

    Instructions

    Sponge Cake

    • Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 2 if you don't have a fan function) and line the bottom of two 8x3 inch baking tins with baking paper without greasing the bottom. Leave the sides of the cake tins ungreased and bare (do not line with baking paper).
    • In a bowl combine your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder and salt. Mix until well combined (you do not need to sift it yet). Set aside.
    • In a medium sized bowl add in the egg whites and white vinegar, and using a hand or stand mixer, whip on a medium high speed for 30 seconds until foamy. Gradually add in 1/3 cup of the sugar and then continue mixing for a further 2 minutes. Then turn your mixer down to low and mix for a further minute (about 4 minutes of mixing altogether). You should end up with stiff peaks (see note 3). Set aside.
    • In a large bowl add in your remaining 1/3 cup of white sugar and warm water. Mix so that the sugar is coated in the water. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla, and with a hand or stand mixer, whip on a medium high speed for 4 minutes, and then turn the mixer down to low and mix for a further minute (5 minutes of mixing altogether). Your mixture should now be thick and you should be able to create ribbons with it when you lift it up with a spoon.
    • Stream the vegetable oil into the egg yolk mixture while mixing on a medium speed. Mix until well combined.
    • Add in half of your egg whites to your egg yolk mixture, and using a spatula gently fold together until just combined.
    • Then sift in your dry ingredients, and gently fold through until just combined.
    • Finish off by adding in the remaining egg whites and gently fold until just combined. You can use your spatula to break up any large chunks of unmixed egg whites but try not to push out too many of the air bubbles and do not overmix.
    • Distribute the batter into your baking tins and then tap your baking tins lightly on your counter. Then run a thin knife or toothpick through the batter to remove any large air bubbles and then bake for 20 minutes. To test whether they're done, gently touch the tops and it should create a little indent which slowly bounces back. You can check with a toothpick too, and if it comes out clean it's ready.
    • Once the sponges are done, immediately tap them on the counter from a height of about 10cm, and lay them upside down (while still in their baking tins) on a wire rack to completely cool (see note 4).
    • Once cooled (about an hour later), run a thin knife around the edges to release the cakes from the cake tins, and then turn them out onto a wire rack.
    • To make my cake layers look nice and neat, I gently rub my fingers around the edges and the top and that removes the dark crust on the sides and tops of the cake (see video for demonstration).
    • APPLY SIMPLE SYRUP: Combine the sugar and hot water together for the simple syrup and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the top and sides of the sponges with the simple syrup (see note 5).

    Whipped Cream

    • In a large bowl add in the whipped cream, icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Whip until you reach stiff peaks. Be careful not to overwhip the cream.

    Assembly

    • Place one sponge cake layer down, and cover the top with a thin layer of my raspberry jam filling.
    • Place strawberries on top (I like to cut mine in half and place them upside down). Cover with a generous amount of whipped cream and spread it out evenly with an offset spatula or knife.
    • Place your next sponge cake layer on top and then cover with more whipped cream. Finish decorating with more strawberries on top. Enjoy!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. You cannot use cake flour in this recipe as a substitute for the all purpose flour and cornstarch. You can use cake flour in replacement of the all purpose flour only (I haven't tried this myself but it should work okay if you cannot source all purpose flour). 
    Note 2. If you don't have a fan oven, bake at 175 °C (347°F).
    Note 3. If you haven't reached stiff peaks yet then keep mixing. For more information on how to whip egg whites check out my YouTube video
    Note 4. By placing the sponges upside down to cool while still in the baking tins, this will prevent them from deflating. 
    Note 5. Because sponges do not contain a lot of fat, they can dry out quicker than regular cakes. To keep my sponges nice and soft I brush them with simple syrup. I would 100% recommend doing this step, it really takes your cake to the next level 🙂
    Note 6. The reason why I first whip both the egg whites and yolks on a high speed, and then on low for the last minute is to remove any large air bubbles which can cause our cakes to collapse. This just ensures you have a more stable batter. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 706IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: chocolate sponge cake, light sponge cake, sponge cake, victorian sponge cake
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    36 Comments

    • Sandy

      5 stars
      This cake was amazing! Absolute hit with everyone, they couldn’t get enough!

      • Cakes by MK

        Aww yay! So so happy to hear everyone loved it Sandy 😀

    • Jess

      LOVE this recipe will definetly be a go to for all my cakes. The only thing it did deflate in the oven so any tips would be great but didn’t comprise the taste. Yummy!!

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Jess! So happy to hear you loved the recipe :). When it comes to the sponge deflating, it could be due to a few reasons. My top tips would be to ensure that the meringue isn’t under or over whipped, and to make sure the cake tin you’re baking the sponge in isn’t greased (or non-stick) as you want the sponge to stick to the sides as it bakes and this will prevent it from deflating 🙂

    • Khadija

      5 stars
      hi, thank you very much for this detailed recipe :), I have a question regrading freezing the cake, can i freeze it without any change in the tase, and for how long does it keep well in the freezer or fridge?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Khadija! 🙂 You’re so welcome. I haven’t tried freezing this cake myself, so I’m not 100% sure sorry, but I think if it’s wrapped well and placed in an airtight container it should be fine 🙂

        • Khadija

          I kept it in the fridge for 2 days after I wrapped it very well with plastic foil first the aluminium foil, and it worked well.
          By the way, the recipe is amazing, thank you very very much for sharing it with us 🙂

          • Cakes by MK

            That’s awesome! So happy to hear it turned out great Khadija 😀

    • Jane

      Hi Maryam, I have just made my second attempt at this recipe. I’m improving, but my cakes did deflate somewhat each time (with the first bake, I forgot about touching the top of the cake to see if it is done, instead I swooped in with a massive skewer and popped them like a balloon (woops)!. Also, my batter is not nearly as dark brown as yours. What is the secret? Thanks for the recipe. I’m having fun refining my skills.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Jane 🙂 Good on you for not giving up! Sponge cakes are one of the hardest cakes to make and takes practice so you’re doing awesome!! In terms of the cakes deflating, be sure to let them cool upside down in the cake tins if you didn’t already. It could also be because the meringue is slightly undermixed. I would also recommend using the gram measurements if you haven’t already. In terms of the colour of the cocoa, it could be the brand of cocoa. Dutch processed cocoa (which is what I used) is also slightly darker than natural cocoa, so if you’re using natural cocoa that may be the reason too. Hope these tips helped Jane! 🙂

    • Carolyn

      Thank you so much gorgeous lady for sharing your delicious chocolate sponge, I made it for Father’s day and invited a neighbour in who was on his own and it went down a treat, it was soooo light! although I must say mine didn’t look as impressive as yours but I’m on my way to perfecting that and I used home made plum jam which was delish but am going to do you raspberry version next time

      • Cakes by MK

        So so happy to hear you and your guests enjoyed the cake Carolyn! 😀

        • Jenna

          5 stars
          this was so delicious! I made this for my family as a 12 year old girl and it was amazing! My parents don’t like cake that is too sweet so this was great! I have been practicing my decoration skills and i was very proud of the end result. but when i took my cake out of the oven i shrunk on the sides a bit and it kinda looked sad but it was really good! if you have any recommendations for a not to sweet but delicious cake please let me know!! This was the first recipe from you and it was amazing! Any other recipes from outside this website did not taste good.

      • Carolyn

        5 stars
        Hello Maryam
        I make your sponge lots and it’s loved by all but now I want to make and oblong one in a sponge roll tin do you think that would work?

        • Cakes by MK

          Hi Carolyn! So happy to hear you’re loving the sponge cake recipe 😀 I haven’t tried this chocolate sponge as a roll cake myself so not 100% sure that it’ll roll up well, though I think it would work okay as this is quite a flexible sponge cake. I’ll be releasing a chocolate roll cake recipe soon so keep an eye out for that 😀

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

      Categories
      Tips & Tricks
      Single Layer Cakes
      Quick Desserts
      Muffins
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