How to make the perfect fluffy yellow/vanilla sponge cake with only 3 ingredients

What is a sponge cake?

A sponge cake is a light cake made with eggs, flour and sugar. Usually it is leavened with beaten eggs, so no additional baking powder is needed. It is used as a base for Torte (layered cake), usually cut in 3 slices.

The ratio for a basic sponge cake:

1 egg (60 g) <=> 30 g caster sugar + 30 g all-purpose

You can bake a fluffy sponge cake with only 3 ingredients: eggs, sugar and flour. To them always add a pinch of salt to enhance the taste. Throw in some vanilla or other flavor and you already have a delicious base for any layered cake (Torte). Honestly, if you make a light syrup and add in it or in the cream a flavor of your choice, you are fine with the 3 ingredients version. No worries, it will still be a perfect base for your layered cake. Not to mention it’s great for people with lactose intolerance.

For a Ø 26 cm springform/pan (~5cm high and 3 layers) you will need:
7 eggs (M size for Europe, L size for US/Canada/Australia),
210 g caster sugar,
210 g flour
Optional: vanilla, alcohol, other flavors

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C/356°F (no ventilation).
  2. Prepare a pan with 26 cm diameter: butter it (or oil it) and flour it so it doesn’t stick. You can also use baking paper.
    basic sponge cake: lining a tray with parchment paper
  3. Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peak. It is very important to beat the eggs properly in order to incorporate as much air as possible and get that fluffy airy texture.
    basic sponge cake: egg whites soft peak
  4. Add the sugar (optional: vanilla) and continue mixing until the egg whites keep their shape.
    basic sponge cake: adding sugar
  5. (Optional) Add flavor of your choice. I added 1 tbsp rum.
    basic sponge cake: adding vanilla
    We now have a meringue.
    basic sponge cake: meringue
  6. Add the egg yolks and mix gently a few times.
    basic sponge cake: incorporating egg yolks
  7. Sift the flour on top and incorporate it gently with the spatula through folding.
    basic sponge cake: adding flour
  8. Bake it for about 35 min in a pan lined with parchment, in a preheated oven at 180°C/356°F (no ventilation).
    basic sponge cake: baked

Do you want it fluffier? Just split the sugar in two and beat the egg yolks with half of it till light and fluffy. You can also add aromas like vanilla in the batter. And that’s it. You will have a light sponge cake without any additional chemical leaveners like baking powder/soda. This version is the easiest to make if you don’t have a stand mixer: you can use a hand mixer or a simple whisk.

For vanilla sponge cake it would be great to use real vanilla pods or vanilla extract for the best results. You may also use vanilla sugar if real vanilla is not available but the taste will be slightly different.

Check out my recipe of German Sponge Cake (Biskuit).

German Sponge Cake (Biskuit)
German Sponge Cake (Biskuit)