Kirbie's Cravings

Chocolate Sponge Cake

This chocolate sponge cake has a light texture and a light chocolate flavor. The cake gets its texture from whipped egg whites which makes a soft and airy cake.

photo of two slices of Chocolate Sponge Cake on a plate

I’ve gotten pretty good at making chiffon/sponge cakes. I find them easier to make than the majority of cake recipes, even though I have to separate the eggs and whip the egg whites. I love whipping the egg whites and watching them come together.

So this weekend, I tried out a chocolate sponge cake recipe that looked tasty. I love chocolate cake recipes and I haven’t tried a sponge cake yet.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Room temperature large eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cold water
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cream of tartar

close-up photo of chocolate sponge cake

Tips for the Best Chocolate Sponge Cake

If you’ve never made a sponge cake I’m sharing my best tips so you can make one with success.

Separating the Egg Whites

All of the steps are important, but separating the egg whites is really important. The first thing you need to do is separate the whites from the yolks. There can’t be anything else in your egg whites otherwise they won’t whip properly.

I have some experience with this because it was a challenge to get it right the first time. I set about separating my eggs. Crack, open, separate. Everything was going great, and then the unthinkable happened. One of my yolks broke. I don’t even know how it happened. I didn’t see it happen. One minute, the egg yolk was in my hand and solid and the next minute it was beginning to leak. I saw it just as it was about to fall into my bowl of egg whites.

I quickly dumped it into the egg yolk bowl. Only a drop got in. I thought I could save it. I stuck a spoon in to try to remove the drop. But I couldn’t completely. Some of it just spread out even more.

It was just a drop. I could still whip up the egg whites right? I mean there were five egg whites in my bowl and one drop of yolk. But no. That one little drop was enough to completely ruin my egg whites. They simply would not whip together.

So, be careful separating your whites!

close-up photo of slices of sponge cake

Whipping the Egg Whites

Once you have your whites you need to whip them. The easiest way to do this is with a stand mixer because you can whip with the whisk attachment at high speed. If you don’t have one, you can use an electric hand mixer but it might take a few minutes longer.

You can do it by hand, but it will take longer and give your arm a workout. If you choose to do it by hand, use a large whisk and a large bowl.

Whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. This means when you pull up the whisk the white will hold its shape without falling into the rest of the mixture.

Use a Folding Method to Mix the Batter

The batter is done in two parts: first, you whip the egg whites and the second part is the egg yolks and other ingredients. To combine the two, you want to use a folding method with a rubber spatula. Instead of stirring, use a spatula to pull the whipped egg mixture and batter together by folding them over each other until they are combined.

It’s tempting to do this fast, but it’s better to take your time. It will seem like it will never fully combine but keep using slow and deliberate motion and the batter will come together.

This step is important because you don’t want to deflate the whipped egg whites which are full of air. The air is what gives your sponge cake its light texture.

How to Tell When the Cake is Done Baking

This cake needs to be fully baked through otherwise it might collapse and sink after you take it out of the oven.

The easiest way to tell if it’s done is to lightly press on the top and listen. I know it sounds weird, but if the cake is not done baking you will hear a foamy sound inside. You will know what I am talking about when you hear it. If you hear this sound the cake needs more time.

I hope you enjoy making this chocolate sponge cake recipe. It’s light and spongy and not too rich so it’s great as a light dessert (add a drizzle of chocolate syrup or some whipped cream to dress it up) or as a snack cake with a cup of tea.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Storage Tips

Leftover chocolate sponge cake should be wrapped with plastic wrap. It can be stored at room temperature for several days.

I don’t recommend refrigerating the cake because it will dry out faster.

More Chocolate Desserts

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Servings: 1 (10-inch) tube cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This chocolate cake gets its spongy texture from whipped eggs whites. It’s a great cake to serve for dessert or with tea.


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs separated, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • In a small bowl, blend the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • Separate the eggs. Place the whites in a mixing bowl with 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. Set aside.
  • Put the yolks in a very large mixing bowl. Beat them with an electric beater on high speed for a few minutes until very thick and pale yellow. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating for another couple of minutes. It should be pale and very thick.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the yolk/sugar mixture, alternating with the cold water and vanilla (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry), beating after each addition until blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Beat the whites until stiff peaks hold.
  • Delicately fold the whites into the cake batter: begin by folding in about a third of the whites in order to lighten the heavy batter. Then fold in another third, then the final third. Don’t overdo it or, again, you will knock out too much air.
  • Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 55- 60 minutes until set. If you think it is done, if the cake is risen high and seems baked through simply press the top very lightly. If you hear a foamy sound – don’t worry, if you hear or feel that foamy sensation you will know it – simply let the cake bake for another couple of minutes. If the cake is not perfectly baked through it risks falling as it cools.
  • Invert the cake and let cool, while the cake is still stuck to the pan. Once cooled, loosen cake from pan (I use a plastic knife) until cake slides out of pan.


Recipe adapted from Life's a Feast

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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11 comments on “Chocolate Sponge Cake”

  1. I used the same way but my sponge became like rubber 🙁 was that bcz of cream of tartar ?

    • cream of tartar keeps the egg whites stabilized so that the cake will rise properly since it relies so much on those stiff egg whites.

  2. wat can we subsitute for cream of tartar incase we cant find it?

    • I don’t know a substitute for cream of tartar, but it should be commonly available. It’s usually with all the spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. The cream of tartar helps keeps the eggs stabilized so the cake does not deflate.

  3. Thanks a lot !!

  4. Thanks for this chocolet cake !! Was lookin for 1 like that !! What kind of flour u use…is it cake flour or all purpose flour ??

  5. Whenever I accidently get a small piece of egg yolk into the egg whites, I found using the one half cracked egg shell easily spoons out the egg yolk.

    • I’ve tried it before, but it’s hard to get it completely out because the yolk starts spreading and contaminating the egg whites. I think I’ve successfully saved an egg white mixture only once.

  6. I should do that next time. I made a chiffon cake again last night and I was sooo slow and careful when separating the eggs. Took me twice as long as usual to do the cake.

  7. Oh don’t you just hate that when egg whites don’t beat up? Yup, even just a hint of oil, just a hairline streak on a bowl will completely ruin a whole batch of eggwhites. So I follow what many bakers recommend, separate the egg in a bowl, if it’s clean, add the white to the actual bowl. That way the whole batch won’t be wasted. A PITA if you ask me but I guess it’s better than having to make an egg-white omelet. 🙂

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