My Foolproof & (almost) No-Fail Sponge Cake Recipe – Hong Kong Style Gateau

Baking Diary – Log 22 – 23.03.2014

I am back! 🙂

At first, I wanted this post to be the second part of my Hanoi Street Food Saga with my last 3 days on the trip. I started writing it, I did, but there came the point where I could not bring myself to finish it, so I stopped, I don’t want blogging to become a must and not anymore a place where I can purely enjoy my presence.

So, today, I shared another very much loved and used recipes: Hong Kong Style Sponge Cake, a.k.a. my (almost) Foolproof Sponge Cake. I found and twisted this recipe to my taste almost 4 years ago, and my search for a perfect sponge cake completed. It was light, and fluffy, and puffy, and has a cloud-like mouth-feel, not too sweet, not dry at all, just right; study enough to handle rich dollops of whipped cream and berry jam as a Victorian sponge cake.


Excited yet? Me too.



(I missed Finland much, much, much seeing this pic)

Yolk batter

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g cake flour
  • 30g cornstarch
  • 40g milk
  • 40g canola oil (or melted butter)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

White batter

  • 4 egg whites
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt


Step 1: preheat the oven 150 degree C, rack at lower bottom level. Prepare a round 20x7cm cake tin by lining the bottom only, with parchment paper. Don’t cover the side as you want the cake to “climb” high onto it.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine all white batter ingredients.


And beat them until soft peak, as explain very clearly step-by step here. After the process, you got this, beautifully beaten meringue.


Step 3: Combine all yolk batter ingredients into another bowl.


And whisk them real good! Until all just combined, it will feel thick and heavy-handed.


Step 4: Using a fold technique (also explain here), add 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk batter.


You don’t have to be extra careful at this step because the point here is to start cooperating some air into the thick yolk batter and loosen them up.


Step 5: Add the just folded mix into the rest of the meringue.


Now, fold, very carefully and delicately, like you are caressing it with a rose. OK, not that light, but imagine handling a baby. You don’t want to break the precious air bubble that later helps with the cake fluffiness. See how after the folding, the batter still stiff and keeps its shape well?


Step 6: Fill the batter to the prepared cake tin, only to 2/3 its capacity. The cake will rise, highly, seriously, period. Don’t believe me. See next picture please.


Step 7: Now back it in a preheated oven for a good 50 min – 1 hour. This is what happened when you fill it to high. See? Don’t follow my bad example.


And you want to keep the temperature exact to 150 degree C because this is a very delicate cake, high temperature may force the egg white to expand hastily at the beginning but once you get it out of the oven, it will flatten miserably.

To stabilize the batter, low baking temperature and long baking time is the key.

The cake is ready when you see the top golden brown, the batter seem dry and stop expanding, and the edge slightly pulls away from the cake tin.

Step 8: Now carefully take the cake out of the oven, and flip it over only a system like below.


Why I did that? Because at this point, the cake is still very hot and its structure is weak, we need to aid it by taking away the gravity force toward the bottom, if you know what I mean. 😛 I can be very scientific sometimes.

Step 9: After 30-45 minutes, the cake is cool, it is time to invert it into the cooling rack. Simply run a thin knife along the side and flip it over again. See how tall and proud it stands.


Ok, this is it for now. Since this is a supplement step to my next exciting recipe, so it has been short and to the point. But really, you can do very creative thing with this recipe: jam, whipped cream, fresh fruit, ganache, buttercream even. One thing it cannot handle is cake ties and fondant. 😉 Leave those heavy babies to my sturdy yellow cake recipe over here.

What is the next exciting recipe, you ask? Tehe, this is the perfect combination with my Light Tiramisu, and that will the next recipe on this blog. 😉 I lost counting compliments and rave review on my light tiramisu.


It does not only taste great, it looks so cute as well. 😀


Until next time,


24 thoughts on “My Foolproof & (almost) No-Fail Sponge Cake Recipe – Hong Kong Style Gateau

  1. Hi rose
    I tried your recipe twice . The rose rose very high just like yours but while cooling inside down the dome flatten & later sink to a small depression. Can you tell me what went wrong?
    I baked it in a 20 cm removable base aluminium pan , at 150 deg C for 52 mins on the bottom rack . The sponge was shrinking a bit so I tested it & was fully coked. Removed from oven & inverted upside down like what you did.
    The sponge taste good , not sweet which is good for kids.
    Would like to hear your comments, thank you for sharing.


    • Hi Mama Mia,

      The heat might be too aggressive even though the oven indicator might not say so… Do you have an oven thermometer to check the real inside temp. ? If not, my suggestion is to lower a heat to 140 to see if it helps.

      Second, did u check the consistency of the whipped egg whites? It needs to be almost stiff peak but not too dry… It’s hard to explain via text but u can look again into my post.

      Let me know if these recommendations would improve the situation.

      Stay home, stay healthy!



      • Thank you for your quick response. I do know how to whip the egg white to the right stage as I bake lots of chiffon cakes successfully. I will try to lower temp to 140 next time, I do use an oven thermometer.
        I love this recipe because it doesn’t use baking powder & cream of tartar.
        One question , do you whisk or just beat the egg yolk batter till smooth & combined.
        Regards & stay safe.


          • Hi rose
            I tried your recipe again today . The sponge cool from a dome to flat top ,quite please with the result.
            I bake at 140 deg C for 54 mins on the lowest rack . I use fan force option which I always do . The sponge was 6 cm tall after top has flatten , bake in a 22 cm removable base aluminium pan ( not greased & not lined ).
            Thank you for your advise & helpful comments.
            Kind regards & stay safe.


  2. Hello! The recipe sounds great. I was just wondering, do I need to grease the sides of the tin with oil or butter or is it better without? Thank you!


    • Hi Michael, best without because the sponge needs to „grab“ on something to „climb high“. Otherwise the cake is too fragile and will collapse on itself when u get it out…

      Hope it help!



    • Hi Stella, I haven’t tried that before to be honest. I think one fact u should concern is that the cake batter can lose its foam if staying outside for too long. But experiments r always welcomed in this blog! Get back with updates pls.

      Good luck,



  3. Hi Rose,
    I hope that you can help me with these following questions.
    1.Can I reduce the amount of sugar? What is the minimum amount required?
    2. If I wait until the cake is cool, whether the moisture will shink the bottom of the cake or not? (Hope you will understand what i mean)
    3. Can margarine replace butter?
    Thank you!


    • Hi Linh,

      To answer your questions:

      1) The sugar amount in my recipe is already at its minimum, no worries, it tastes heavenly. 🙂

      2) Wait for the cake to cool with its surface upside down, and with support from the “system” I demonstrated in the post. By cooling it upside down, u reduce the weight and moisture on the cake’s bottom.

      3) Technically you can but I wouldn’t recommend it, because simply margarine doesn’t taste as good, and not as healthy.

      Hope it helps. 🙂



  4. Hi Rose,
    I’m planning to try out this recipe and may I know how much egg whites and yolks that you use by weight separately? I’ve tried your chocolate chip cookies and banana bread and they have been awesome. Many thanks, Rose!


    • Hi Anne, I’m glad to hear good feedback from my previous recipes. 🙂

      I don’t normally weigh my eggs, I use standardised supermarket-bought ones, ~60g each, 30% of it is yolk so ~18g each. Hope my simple breakdown helps.

      Keep me updated,



  5. Pingback: Light Tiramisu Mousse Cake – Something Special for the Last Day of March | Simply a Food Blog

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