Ann Reardon

Perfect Sponge Cake Recipe: Light Fluffy Moist and Tall

victoria sponge cake recipe how to cook that

The perfect sponge cake should be light, fluffy, moist, tall, soft on the edges and of course beautiful. Easy with the right recipe, painfully frustrating with all of the rest.  After testing many, many sponge cake recipes my kids got tired of taking sponge cake in their lunch boxes to school. So I gave them a break for a while. When I came back to it I retested the best ones but was still not satisfied, I tried a heap more that instead of using different amounts of the key ingredients used different methods of combining them. Eventually I tweeked a few of the best ones to come up with this light, fluffy and beautifully moist sponge cake recipe. My favorite.

Sponge Cake Recipe Ingredients

2 cups or 320g (11.29 ounces) plain all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups or 327g (11.53 ounces) sugar
1 Tbsp or 3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp or 7.5g (0.26 ounces) gelatin (powdered)

1/2 cup or 125ml vegetable oil such as canola oil
7 egg yolks or 105g (3.7 ounces)
1 cup or 250millilitres (8.45 fluid ounces) cold water

7 egg whites or 252g (8.89 ounces)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

To decorate:
1 punnet or 250g (8.82 ounces) or approx 1 2/3 cups strawberries,
600millilitres (20.29 fluid ounces) cream (35% fat),
2 Tbsp icing (powdered) sugar,
1 tsp vanilla essence
(recipe source: adapted from this recipe)


Preheat the oven to 320F (160 degrees Celsius) if using a fan forced oven.

Place your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and gelatin into a bowl and whisk it to incorporate air and get rid of any lumps.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture then pour in the oil, egg yolks and water in that order. Set that bowl to one side.

Put your egg whites and cream of tartar into another bowl and whisk on high speed until you get soft peaks.

Mix together the flour mixture for 30 seconds only or until just combined, don’t over-mix this.

Using a spatula fold in your egg whites in three batches.

Line but do not grease two 20cm (7.87 inches) cake tins and spread the mixture evenly between the two.

Bake in a slow oven, 320F (160 degrees Celsius) for 55-60 minutes.

When it is done leave in the tin and cool upside down.

tall moist fluffy sponge cake recipe reardon
See the video for how to decorate your sponge cake.

or try the ombre or rainbow cake decorating tutorials

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That

© All Rights Reserved Reardon Media PL 2013


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

1,187 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    Hi! I’m wondering if I can substitute fresh orange juice for the water? Thank you!! Simone.

  2. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann

    I baked this recipe on the weekend with my daughter. We liked it very much, especially on day 2.

    One thing that interests me is the gelatin. I’ve read your other comments where you say it acts
    as an emulsifier. I was curious about this but I can’t find too many references on the internet
    where other people are using gelatin specifically as an emulsifier. In fact in my reading I saw
    that egg yolk is actually an emulsifier and a lot of the newer emulsifiers were created to get
    around egg’s short shelf life. Seeing as there is so much egg yolk in the recipe would more
    emulsifier really be needed ?

    I usually find you to be very scientific and I really appreciate the work you have been doing
    on debunking some of the other YouTube channels. So actually the inclusion of the gelatin
    as an emulsifier somewhat contradicts your other work and I say that with the greatest of
    respect. Unless of course you have studied this and if so I’d love to see the experiments.

    Anecdotally I found that the gelatin gave it a slightly chewier texture than when I baked a
    similar chiffon cake recipe without the gelatin. However take my story with a pinch of salt
    because we did 4/7ths of the recipe and used smaller tins and cooked for slightly shorter

    Thank you.

    • Hi Barnaby, You will find most commercial cake mixes have emulsifiers in the ingredient list – in addition to the fresh eggs added when making the cake. You are correct that egg yolks act as an emulsifier, the gelatine is used as an additional emulsifier. Cake mixture, despite having eggs in it can often split into streaks of the fatty substances and the liquid separate. I have experimented making the same cake (same quantities, baked in the same oven in same sized cake tin) with and without gelatin and found the texture to be more pleasing with it. Taste, including texture is very individual so if you prefer it without then that is of course the way you should make it.

  3. Rating: 5

    Baked this cake for my boyfriend as we almost broke up. My only compliment is: we are back together now!
    Used some tips from your other videos too. Thank you so much, Ann!

    • So glad it all worked out for you Michelle

  4. Rating: 5

    Hey, what if i don’t have cream of tartar? Is there a difference in taste at all?

    • Hi Ebony, cream of tartar is slightly acidic and helps stabilise the egg whites to keep them fluffy. You can swap for 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice.

  5. Rating: 3

    Hello Ann can I use a 6inch pan

  6. Rating: 5

    How far in advance can I make these cakes prior to assembling them with butter cream etc?
    thank you!

  7. Rating: 5

    What if I don’t have baking powder and cream of tartar. Will there be any difference??

    • Hi Rose,
      Baking powder creates air bubbles when it is heated in the oven causing the cake to be lighter and fluffier. Cream of tartar stabilises the egg whites keeping them fluffy. Without them your cake will be flatter and not as airy.

  8. Rating: 5

    Thanks so much! I attempted to replicate your cake for my mother’s 55th birthday. I don’t know why my cake poofed up at the top. Perhaps the sides of my cake pan were not high enough to support the rise? It was 9×2 inches, I think. Also, my cake decorating skills needs refinement, clearly! 😉 Still, this cake was a success because my kids loved it and my parents didn’t hate it or find it too sweet. The sponge cake was just fluffy enough. This recipe is a keeper!

    • Wow that’s nice!!

    • Awesome, I’m glad you liked it ?

  9. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, I tried your recipe and the flavour of the sponge cake was really good! Sadly the bottom part of my cake was dense.. any idea what could have caused it?

    • Hi Shirley, That sounds unusual, possible that the egg white were not evenly folded through enough – that would make the top fluffy and the base heavy.

  10. Rating: 5

    I have two questions.
    1. If I’m baking them in a normal oven (not fan forced), do I bake them on 350F(180°C), or do I stick to the 320F you mentioned?
    2. My cake pans don’t have handles on the side, and they’re loose bottomed. So I won’t be able to flip them upside down or they’ll just fall over. Is that alright? Or is flipping them really necessary?
    Thankyou so much, Ann.

    • Hi Ahmed my oven is fan forced. Yes you can make it without flipping them upside down

      • I don’t understand the answer; If I don’t have a fan-forced oven what temperature should I use?

  11. Rating: 4

    Do you use sugar or caster sugar

    • I use cater sugar

  12. Rating: 4

    Hi Judy.
    I made your cake and really love the texture and taste of it. I’m wondering I would like to add vanilla extract and a little less sugar. Please can you advise how I can go about this?

    • Hi Michelle,
      I would say you can safely reduce the amount of sugar in this cake and add vanilla extract. I am currently getting ready to publish a similar recipe in a gluten-free (and sulfite-free) version and I use vanilla and a lot less sugar than the recipe here. According to the World Health Organization, the maximum daily consumption of added sugar is 25g, which isn’t a lot at all…

  13. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    If I wanted to make this a chocolate sponge (using cocoa powder) what amount should I use and would this affect the other dry ingredients?
    Thank you so much for your videos, you have really inspired me to get baking!

    • I made the sponge and used it as a birthday cake – and wow really impressed such a great rise and your instructions were perfect!

      • Looks beautiful Steve, well done

      • Hi Ann, did you use room temperature eggs? Need to know

      • That’s beautiful…

  14. Rating: 5

    Hi! I’m thinking about baking this for someone that doesn’t like too much sugar. Would you recommend me reduce the amount of sugar?


    • G’day Eric, Baking is science so you’ll need to do an experiment and see how well it works with less sugar. Most cakes can handle some reduction in the sugar.?

      • Ok, thank you!

  15. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann, sorry to bother you but please can you tell me which vanilla cake recipe is best suited to make 3d cakes, one which is dense and will hold shape, your vanilla sponge cake or the other vanilla cake recipe which uses margarine? Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Sana, I like to use this one… you can leave out the lemon and blueberry and add vanilla. I always bake it flat in trays and then stack for shaped cakes.

      • Thank you for replying…totally love your videos keep up the great work!! You are an inspiration to thousands of people like me around the globe.

        • ?

  16. Rating: 4.5

    Hi, can we use vegetarian gelatin?

    • Hi Sana, I am using the gelatine as an emulsifier, it gives the cake a better texture. You can make it without if you prefer. You’d need to test a batch with the vegetarian gelatine that you have to see if it is useful.

      • Good to know! I’m in a bit of a pinch and dont have any gelatin of hand. Or cream of tartar, but I’m using lemon juice in place of that

  17. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    What sugar do you use

    • Hi Rose I use caster sugar

  18. Rating: 5

    (Please ignore any grammar mistakes, english is not my native language) Really great recipe, my mom loved it! I’m 13 and I’m not really good at baking but I wanted to do something special for my mother’s birthday. The cake was quite hard to do but it turned out amazing! I switched strawberrys for peaches and I used my own frosting recipe because I wanted it to be diferent. The cake was moist and fluffy, everyone loved it!

    • Awesome Miguel, Happy Birthday to your mum. Your English is great. ?

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi, this cake looks amazing and I can’t wait to try making it. Do you know if I can substitute the gelatin powder for agar agar or veg-gel powder? If so would you use the same quantity? Thank you

    • Hi Shafina, I am using the gelatine in this recipe as an emulsifier to keep the water and oil together. You’d have to experiment with using the others, or you could try leaving it out – it just changes the texture slightly.

  20. Rating: 5

    I absolutely love this recipe. It makes such a wonderful moist and fluffy cake. I get really nice comments when I make it! I have used it to make birthday cakes and it has held fondant icing quite well. Thank you!

    • ? thanks Lara

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