I saw a recipe for Clear Water Sponge Cake on The Little Teochew which looked very much like the sponge cakes that are often sold at chinese bakeries. Super spongy and light as air, the chinese sponge cakes are usually the size of oversized muffins. I always pick up a few when I visit a chinese bakery and I make sure to eat them right away because they spoil quickly. 

I wasn't sure if these clear water cakes were the same, but they looked remarkably similar and they were easy to make. In fact, I was a bit suspicious at how easy the recipe looked. A lot of chinese desserts and bakery items are pretty complicated to make.

After I finished mixing the batter, I realized that there was no baking powder agent to make the cake rise. I was really concerned. I knew the egg whites would help the sponge cakes rise, but I wasn't sure it was enough. I double checked the recipe, but I was afraid that something got lost in the translation, or perhaps the flour used in the original recipe already had baking powder inside it.

To my relief, the cakes came out fine. They were soft, spongy, airy. They didn't rise that much though. So I still wonder if I was supposed to have baking powder in there. Perhaps next time I'll fill the batter cup higher too, to make these cakes higher.

I'll have to investigate more to see if I should have put in baking powder, but the recipe as written is great too. The cakes tasted just like the chinese sponge cakes I get in the chinese bakeries! I used a regular muffin pan rather than the oversized ones, so these are more like mini sponge cakes. I had no idea they were so easy to make. Next time, I'm just going to make my own rather than buying them.

Mini sponge cakes (adapted from The Little Teochew)


- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 50g corn oil

- 50g cake flour

- 3 egg whites

- 50g castor sugar
- Dash of salt


1) Beat (A) till well mixed with an egg beater.

2) Sift in (B), mix well.

3) Whisk (C) till frothy, add (D) and beat till stiff peaks.

Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, mix
till well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups till 60% full.

5) Bake in preheated oven at 150C for about 18-20mins. 


14 Responses to “Mini sponge cakes”

  1. MaryMoh — August 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Oh wow…these look so pretty and so soft in texture. I think I can eat a few of that :D I would love to try.

  2. Lily — August 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Yum, looks good, but in the original recipe and in the Little Teochew’s recipe, it says “???????”/low protein flour which is different (I think) than regular flour…

  3. Kirbie — August 25, 2010 at 9:46 am

    They are pretty small, so I ate quite a few ;-)

  4. Kirbie — August 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Yeah the recipe calls for low protein flour, which I’m not sure what that is. But Little Teochew also translated it as cake flour, which is what I used. But I’m not sure if cake flour in the US is the same. Because there is no baking powder in the cake flour here.

  5. WW — August 28, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Hi Kirbie
    No, you don’t need baking powder in these cakes. There are three types of agents to make baked goods rise, it’s either: air, baking powder/soda, or yeast. Since we are making cake, then yeast is out of question.
    The reason why your cakes didn’t rise that much maybe due to the beating time of the eggs. Try using an electric mixer on medium high and beat the egg parts for 10 minuttes at least to incorporate more air into them.
    Also, flour produces protein when it’s mixed with liquid, it’s also known as gluten, so the more you mix it the more gluten it’ll produce. Since gluten is protein, so when it’s baked it’ll harden which in turn will make your baked goods firm. When you are making cakes, however, you want the light and fluffy texture, so low protein flour (or cake flour) is always used. If leavening agents are added to the flour, then it’ll be labeled as self-rising flour.
    Hope that helps :o)

  6. Kirbie — August 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hi WW. Thanks for all the explanations. That really eases my concerns. And I’m definitely going to make this again and beat my eggs longer. Thanks so much!

  7. The Little Teochew — September 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Hey Kirbie! Thanks for the link up! Glad you made these. They look so soft and spongy. :)

  8. Pingback: Sponge BOB Kids Children/Baby WordPress Yellow Theme | Script ebooks

  9. Lucy — December 13, 2011 at 12:33 am

    How much is 50g oil, 50g sugar, and 50g of flour?
    Because I ended up using waaay too much sugar

    • Kirbie replied: — December 13th, 2011 @ 9:11 am

      Hi Lucy, unfortunately when I did this recipe I used my scale and measured out the ingredients. So I don’t know what the conversion is for cups. Keep in mind that sugar is quite a bit heavier than flour so you wont need nearly as much to reach 50g compared to 50g of flour. You can try googling to see if anyone has done the conversion for the most basic baking ingredients. Or maybe ask for a scale for christmas =) They are less than $20.

  10. Ace — October 6, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Hi Kirbie ,
    I was just wondering , how long does this mini sponge cakes last ? Everytime I cook or bake something we always have leftovers and I was wondering if they have to be esten immediately on the same day as it was baked . Thanks !
    - Ace

    • Kirbie replied: — October 6th, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

      It doesn’t have to be same day but I would not leave them for more than 2-3 days because they will mold.

  11. Aj — January 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    can i use butter instead of corn oil???

    • Kirbie replied: — January 13th, 2013 @ 8:36 am

      I’m sorry, I’ve never tried, but I think it should work.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you for submitting a comment! Please note, all comments are held in moderation until owner approval.

Current day month [email protected] *