How to make a 4-ingredient sponge cake (genoise cake) | natashaskitchen.com

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I love this sponge cake recipe. It’s easy and you can make hundreds of different cakes with this base. This is a classic European sponge cake (aka Genoise). Once you have this recipe down (you’ll memorize it after a couple rounds), you’ll be baking things that look and taste like they are from a fancy bakery.

This cake base takes on moisture really well from fruit, frostings, liqueurs and syrups. As you can tell from my cake recipes, I’m a sucker for moist cakes. Read on to see 11 marvelous recipes you can make using this sponge cake base.

Over the years, I’ve tested countless different ways to make this cake and this is the best, most fail-proof method for genoise that I’ve tested. This is not like American cakes and readers often question if it can really be that easy and only have 4 ingredients.

I want you to discover this gem of a cake and succeed EVERY TIME you make it. I hope you find this video helpful. We had you in mind! 🙂

Watch How To Make Sponge Cake:

Tips for Success (Read First!):

1. When no streaks of flour remain in the dough, fold a few extra times to ensure you aren’t missing pockets of flour at the bottom

2. Bake the cake layers right after folding in the flour – they should not sit too long

3. Always use a conventional oven setting (not a convection/fan setting)

4. An electric hand mixer will take 2-4 minutes longer to beat the eggs

5. Tip from reader, Hilda: “How do you know u get the right consistency? Lift up your beater (whisk) from the batter. Make a figure “8” using the batter that drip off the beater. Then count to 10 seconds. If the figure 8 still remains on top of the batter, then u have the right consistency. If the figure 8 sinks into the batter before 10 secs, then u need to beat it longer.”

6. Bake in the center of the oven

7. Place cake in a fully pre-heated oven

8. Do not open the oven door to check on the cake until towards the end

9. Let the cake cool in a room without any outdoor draft which can make it seem eggy

Sponge Cake Recipes you can master at home:

Blackberry Lemon Cake – soft and moist and has a fluffy lemon blackberry buttercream frosting.

This blackberry cake is soft and moist and has a fluffy lemon blackberry buttercream frosting.

Charlotte Cake – layers of raspberry mousse, lady fingers and fluffy cake.

With step-by-step photos, you can master Raspberry Charlotte Russe Cake! A Charlotte Dessert with layers of raspberry mousse, lady fingers and fluffy cake.

Poppy Seed Cake – fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it’s not overly sweet.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Strawberry Sponge Cake – boasts 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries. You’ll love the simple and delicious whipped cream cheese frosting.

This is THE Strawberry Cake!! It calls for 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries & the whipped cream cheese frosting is simple & delicious. | natashaskitchen.com

Black Forest Cake – A chocolate version of classic genoise with 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!!

Black Forest Cake (a famous German Chocolate Cake) with 4 chocolatey layers, 1 lb of kirsch infused cherries and whipped cream. So good!! | NatashasKitchen.com

Russian Apple Cake (Sharlotka) – Just 5 ingredients and 15 min of prep then your oven does the rest!

The BEST apple sharlotka cake we’ve tried. Just 5 ingredients and 15 min of prep then your oven does the rest! @natashaskitchen

Poppy Seed Cake Roll – Moist, generously filled with a cream cheese frosting, covered with velvety chocolate ganache and pummeled with salted pistachios.

This moist poppyseed cake roll is generously filled with a cream cheese frosting, covered with velvety chocolate ganache and pummeled with salted pistachios. It’s moist, sweet, tangy, chocolaty and a teensy bit salty. We have a winner!

Pomegranate Christmas Cake – With a crown of glistening pom seeds, this one’s a stunner for the holidays.

A moist Pomegranate Cake with a crown of glistening pom seeds. Pomegranate cake is fantastic top to bottom and makes for a stunning Christmas Cake! | natashaskitchen.com

Story Book Cake Roll – This cake roll is moist, rolled with a vanilla butter cream, covered in decadent chocolate and the cookie crumbs give it a subtle crunch.

You have to try this cake roll! Moist, chocolatey & stunning. Step-by-step photos! @natashaskitchen

Kiwi Berry Cake – If you love fruit, this cake will make your dreams come true. Layer after layer of gorgeous berries.

Kiwi Berry Cake Recipe - If you love fruit, this cake will make your dreams come true. Layer after layer of gorgeous fruit in this berry cake. | natashaskitchen.com

Tiramisu – if you like tiramisu, you will love this!

A simple and beautiful Tiramisu cake - if you like Tiramisu, you will LOVE this! | natashaskitchen.com

I told you I loved this cake base. I’m Completely smitten 🙂

4-Ingredient Sponge Cake (Video Recipe)

4.90 from 642 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Once you master this easy European sponge cake (genoise), you can make hundreds of different cakes using this base!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 2 nine inch round cakes

Instructions

Prep:

  • Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of two 9″ cake pans with parchment paper (do not grease the sides).

How to Make this Sponge Cake:

  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment (this is the one I have), beat 6 large eggs for 1 minute on high speed. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating 8-10 minutes until thick and fluffy.
  • Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder then sift this mixture into fluffy egg mixture one third at a time. Fold with a spatula with each addition just until incorporated. Scrape spatula from the bottom to catch any pockets of flour and stop mixing when no streaks of flour remain. Do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.
  • Divide evenly between prepared cake pans (it helps if you have a kitchen scale to weight the pans). Bake at 350˚F for 23-28 minutes (my oven took 25 min), or until top is golden brown. Remove from pan by sliding a thin spatula (here’s the one I love for cakes) around the edges then transfer to a wire rack and remove parchment backing. Cool cakes to room temperature then slice layers equally in half with a serrated knife.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: sponge cake
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

 

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Oceanna
    June 15, 2024

    Can I use monkfruit sweetener instead of regular sugar? I’m worried that it will not fluff the eggs up the same as regular sugar.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 15, 2024

      I have not tested that to advise. One of my readers said they substituted 1/4 cup of sugar for Lakantomonk fruit granulated sweetener and it turned out perfect. But I am not sure how substituting it completely will work.

      Reply

  • Eva
    June 12, 2024

    Looking for a cake to serve strawberries over. Would this cake work for that? I’m not a fan of pound cake and find it too heavy. Could I line the bottom of a bread pan with parchment and bake off? I would like to slice off as you would a loaf of bread.

    Reply

  • Nayla
    June 9, 2024

    Can I prepare the cakes two days in advance and then frost it 24 hours in advance

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 9, 2024

      The sponge layers will keep well at room temperature/refrigerated for a couple of days, or frozen for longer storage. Let them cool completely and then keep in an airtight container, or well wrapped to prevent drying out.

      Reply

  • Laura McKenzie
    June 7, 2024

    Hi, I was wondering what icing you would recommend for this sponge cake?
    Also, if I add 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring, would it disturb the fluffiness of the batter?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 8, 2024

      Hi Laura, That would depend on what you want to accomplish with this base. I recommend seeing the cake recipes I linked within the recipe post for a few ideas of what has worked well for us under the ‘Sponge Cake Recipes you can master at home:’ section. I hope this is helpful.

      Reply

  • Laura McKenzie
    June 7, 2024

    Hi, I was wondering what icing you would recommend for this sponge cake?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 9, 2024

      Hi Laura, That would depend on what you want to accomplish with this base. I recommend seeing the cake recipes I linked within the recipe post for a few ideas of what has worked well for us under the ‘Sponge Cake Recipes you can master at home:’ section. I hope this is helpful.

      Reply

  • Nayla
    June 3, 2024

    Hi. What would be the quantities if I want to do three 11 inch cakes

    Reply

  • Myth
    June 3, 2024

    I was wondering if I can use this recipe in cupcake form? I have mini Bundt cake molds about the size of cupcakes. Would I need to tweak temp and time at all? Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 3, 2024

      I haven’t tried that but since this cake does not have any oil or butter in it, it would stick to a cupcake or mini cupcake pan badly and liners would get stuck to it as well and you’d lose a lot of the cake. This is why I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Reply

  • Diane
    May 31, 2024

    Natasha, you are my go to person when looking for recipes. I love the ease and texture of this cake but, to me, I only smell and taste egg! My husband said I’m crazy cause he doesn’t…..but then again….he gets to eat the whole cake:)

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 1, 2024

      Hi Diane, Normally this should not taste or smell eggy. The most common reason for that would be under beating the eggs and sugar. I suggest watching the video tutorial to see if your cake looked the same and if not, try to determine where it started looking different in the process. Another reason for an eggy smell would be if the cake was cooled in an area of the outdoor draft – the same thing goes for any egg-based dessert-like meringue or egg-based cakes. Also, be sure to use fresh eggs. Some people are more sensitive to eggs so you can also try to mask the egg flavor with a little vanilla or lemon extract in the cake batter next time. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Aneisa
    May 19, 2024

    Hello! I love this recipe and have been using it (and the earlier version) for years! I was diagnosed with celiac disease a couple years ago but this recipe works amazingly with gluten free flour as well.

    I wanted to ask about preparing ahead of time… If I was making this 3 days in advance would it be better to freeze it or just leave it in an airtight container?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 19, 2024

      Glad you love this recipe! The sponge layers will keep well at room temperature/refrigerated for a couple of days, or frozen for longer storage. Let them cool completely and then keep in an airtight container, or well wrapped to prevent drying out.

      Reply

  • Sarah
    May 18, 2024

    Hello! Been using your recipe for YEARS. Works wonderfully for so many things. I have tried a roll cake unsuccessfully but just now paid attention to the cake flour part- is that to give it more structure for rolling? And how do you prepare the pan for that? Your roll recipe did not specify- just “prepared”.

    Reply

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