Chinese Sponge Cakes

These light-as-air Chinese sponge cakes taste just like the ones sold at Chinese bakeries. I’m sharing my favorite recipe so you can make them at home, too!

photo of one sponge cake on a plate

I love Chinese sponge cakes. They are lightly sweet, soft, and fluffy. For a long time, I had to visit a Chinese bakery if I wanted sponge cakes. A few weeks ago, I made a batch of mini sponge cakes and they tasted great, but they didn’t rise as much as I wanted them to.

So, after several trials and research, I finally was able to make sponge cakes that taste just like the ones sold at Chinese bakeries.

photo of a plate of sponge cakes

Instead of one large cake, this recipe makes individual-sized sponge cakes and, unlike other Chinese baked goods I’ve made, like Honey Castella Cake, these little cakes only have a few ingredients and aren’t hard to make if you follow the steps.

How to Make the Batter

  • You will need one bowl to combine one whole egg with three egg yolks plus some oil. I beat this mixture for about 10 minutes to ensure it’s well combined.
  • The cakes get their light texture from cake flour, which needs to be sifted into the egg yolk and oil mixture. I don’t recommend substituting all-purpose flour because your cakes won’t have the right texture.
  • In a separate bowl, you will beat three egg whites until they turn frothy. Add the sugar and salt and whip them together until the egg whites thicken enough to hold stiff peaks. I beat my egg whites for 10 minutes and this made a big difference in how much the cakes rose when I baked them.
  • Carefully fold the stiff egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. It’s a good idea to do this in batches (I did it in three). Be very gentle because you don’t want to deflate the egg whites.

How to Bake the Sponge Cakes

  • I like to line my muffin pan with paper liners and then I pour the batter into them. Fill the paper liners approximately 80% full.
  • Bake the cakes at 300°F for about 18 to 20 minutes.

photo of one sponge cake

These sponge cakes bake up about the size of over-sized muffins and they taste just like the ones I buy at the bakery. Now, I don’t have to buy them!

Mini Sponge Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian
These little cakes have a spongy texture and are lightly sweetened.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 50 g corn oil
  • 50 g cake flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 50 g castor sugar
  • 1 dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, the whole egg, and oil together until well mixed, about 10 minutes.
  3. Sift in the flour and mix well.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. Add the sugar and salt and beat until stiff peaks.

  5. Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions and mix until well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups 80% full. Bake the cakes for 18 to 20 minutes.

Notes:

Recipe adapted from The Little Teochew

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

photo of one sponge cake and one that is split in half

19 comments on “Chinese Sponge Cakes”

  1. Great job, they look great! I used to love Chinese sponge cake with fresh whipped cream and sliced fresh fruit.

  2. Your sponge cake looks really really good! Soft, fluffy, light…perfect!

  3. These look beautiful. I love how delicate and understated they are.

  4. Nice, i love light and fluffy cake. Everytime i go to Chinatown, i gotta buy some of such cakes from the chinese bakery.

  5. Mmm, I should do that to them next time. I’ve just been eating them plain.

  6. Thanks! I was quite happy with this last attempt.

  7. Thank you. I love your description of them.

  8. I had no idea how easy they were to make. Now I won’t feel compelled to buy them all the time.

  9. I love Chinese sponge cakes – yours look light and fluffy 🙂

  10. Thanks! I’m liking the look of these mini cupcake ones, as opposed to the oversized cupcake ones they usually sell at the bakery

  11. I’m always tempted to buy these sponge cakes everytime I visit a chinese bakery. I have a question though – about how much is 50g of cake flour? I don’t have a scale, sorry :/

    • Normally I use cups as measuring. But for certain recipes like this, I’ve found that it is really important that the measurements are accurate, and therefore you need to weigh in the ingredients. Approximations can sometimes cause the recipe to fail. Next time I make this, I can check to give an approximation, but i’d recommend getting a kitchen scale. They are pretty cheap and they come in handy.

  12. I’ve been debating on whether I should get one or not for a long time and now you’ve finally convinced me to get one! Thanks Kirbie, will order a scale from Amazon 😉

    • I debated for a long time too, because I felt like I didn’t really need it often. I think mine was like $12, and once I bought it, I realized how useful it was. I use it for macaron recipes and other ones that need precise measurements, and many other recipes I’ve found without conversions. A lot of asian recipes don’t have conversions. I even use it to weight packages to mail! I hope you find yours just as useful.

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  14. your sponge cake looks like fluffy clouds. I just made some Chinese radish cake this week. I think I’ll try making these sponge cake next week.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. I love this recipe! It’s just like the cakes at the Asian bakeries. But, could you tell me why my cake collapses when cooled? Thanks!

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