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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 26, 2021

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Chinese sponge cakes

Chinese sponge cakes

| On 02, Jul 2013

This is a sponge far from the world of English gardens and high teas.

My sponge calls Asia home and you’ll usually see this served up at birthday parties and everything in between.

If you have ventured into Asian grocers you might have seen them in the form of rectangular or oval cakes, either plain, or green with pandan flavour or cream filled.

This unconventional sponge (or chiffon cake) is feather-light, airy and rich and best of all involves little ingredients and not all that much fuss.

I usually make this as one huge cake filled with lashings of cream and fresh fruits but I was feeling petite.

The one important factor in this recipe is FRESH eggs at room temperature.

Chinese Sponge Cakes


8 eggs (fresh, preferably free-range, at room temperature)
120g flour
120g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cream of tartar
1tsp vanilla essence
60ml rice bran or vegetable oil
80ml water

To Serve

300mL thickened cream
Fresh fruits – berries, kiwi fruit, peaches it’s up to you.

Makes approximately 24 cupcakes.


1. Preheat oven to 150°C.

2. Place paper cases into a 12-hole muffin tin.

3. Place egg whites into a large mixing bowl, add sugar and cream of tartar and beat for 15 minutes on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. This process is labour intensive, so a stand-alone mixer is a life saver.

4. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks, vanilla essence, oil and water until combined.

5.  Then sift in flour and baking powder and mix until incorporated. Your mixture will have some elasticity to it.

6. Using a large metal serving spoon (we don’t want to knock the air out of your beautiful egg whites) very gently fold in the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.

7. Once you have incorporated the mixtures, fill your prepared cases all the way to the top.

I mean all the way these sponges will rise a great deal but once cooled they will shrink slightly.

8. Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean.

9. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

10. Serve with freshly whipped cream and fruits of your choice.

Plain sponge - see what I mean by airy.

Airy and delicate plain sponge

Feather-light sponge

Feather-light sponge

Don’t be afraid to eat more than one – it’s so light and airy you’ll simply forget about the cream.

If you want to make one whole cake DO NOT grease your cake tin – it will stop the cake from rising.

A full sized cake will take 40-45 minutes in the oven.

Once cooked, cool upside down.

I use an aluminium cake tin similar to your traditional bundt tin but with a detachable bottom – you can find them at most Asian grocers.

Enjoy and happy baking!


Aluminium detachable bottom cake tin

Aluminium detachable bottom cake tin

If you fancy turning it into one pretty as a picture cake

If you fancy turning it into one pretty as a picture cake