Sponge Cake Recipes – This is my best vanilla cake recipe. A classic butter cake but with Japanese techniques applied for the most velvety, soft and moist yellow cake like you’ve never had before. This professional bakery style cake stays fresh and moist for 4 days – that’s unheard of! Use the same batter for perfect Vanilla Cupcakes.
So if all of these are to your liking, then I daresay this could become your favorite vanilla cake recipe too! And here’s a little preview to show you how soft and fluffy it still is after 4 days:
Sponge Cake Recipes
This vanilla cake is the result of bringing together the best of Japanese sponge cakes and western butter-based cakes. It has the world famous very soft, fluffy crumb of Japanese cakes and uses the Japanese baking method, combined with the buttery goodness and sweetness of Western cakes.
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But it is more durable than Japanese cakes which are so delicate, they can really only be decorated with cream. Anything heavier and the bottom layer squishes!
Also, importantly, this cake incorporates my cake shelf life requirement to stay perfectly fresh for at least 2 days after making. (This keeps perfectly for 4 days.) Because who bakes cakes the day they are meant to be served??
Interestingly, baking experts will recognize that the method and ingredients in this cake are very similar to what is called Hot Milk Cake in America – although curiously it is often described as a ‘dense’ cake, possibly because they do not retain its aeration. egg. to the extent that I insist we do it and also because it is sometimes baked in pans that bake much longer (= dense cake).
The words “best served on the day” in a cake recipe are never a good sign – it means it has gone downhill drastically overnight. But THIS cake recipe is just about perfect for 4 days – even 5 days!
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I don’t want to mess with you too much…but a sign of a well-made cake is an even crumb. No long tunnels or lots of irregularly sized holes. It looks and tastes good
There is a widespread misconception that cake flour is the secret to a better cake. This only applies to certain cakes. For this, plain / all-purpose flour works best.
Here’s what you need to make this velvety smooth vanilla cake. No cake flour, no buttermilk, no sour cream. I’ve tried them all – this cake is best with plain / all purpose flour and only milk.
Making a really good cake that starts with “cream butter and sugar until fluffy…”. it’s actually harder than you think. The butter has to be at the perfect temperature and you can’t have cold mixing bowls.
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If it’s too hard, you’ll never be able to cream it and you’ll end up with pockets of grease. If you beat the butter too much, you break the air pockets.
There is more room for error with cookies and some other types of baked goods. But the temperature of the butter should be just about perfect for cakes and cupcakes. (17°C/63°F is the perfect temperature for “softened butter”).
And even if you nail it, the cake quickly loses its freshness. Even the next day it is noticeably drier.
I’ve tried dozens and dozens over the years to compare it to this vanilla cake. This recipe puts everyone to shame when it comes to fresh shelf life.
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Warning – this is a long step-by-step walkthrough to ensure those new to baking are equipped with everything they need to make this cake perfectly, first time and every time!
Hard to find the perfect cake because there is nothing hidden behind it, it is one of the purest forms of baking. And the “cream butter and sugar” step is the biggest cause of trouble, setting the cake up for success or failure from the start (read above).
Vanilla sponge is used to make a Victoria sponge – spread with strawberry jam, topped with whipped cream.
A stand mixer makes this vanilla cake a breeze, although it can be made with an electric hand mixer. While it takes time to beat the eggs to make a lovely fluffy cake, this recipe is more foolproof than the usual ‘cream butter and sugar until fluffy’ – read the box above for why.
Sponge Cake Recipe By Renee
This cake’s unique velvety, fluffy crumb comes from a double lifting power – beaten eggs AND baking powder!
1. Beat the eggs and sugar – Beat the eggs with the sugar for a full 7 minutes until they are thick and glossy, turn from yellow to white, and triple in volume (just over twice as deep in the bowl).
The aeration created in this step is key to a soft, fluffy crumb. This is a technique borrowed from Japanese sponge cakes.
Minimum or you will expel the air. Just follow my timing and beater speeds and you can’t go wrong!
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After 7 minutes of beating, the egg-sugar mixture will triple in volume (double in height in the mixer bowl).
2. Gradually add the flour – Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Then add it to the egg mixture in 3 batches, mixing for just 5 seconds on Speed 1 in between. This is what the flour should do
3. Warm melted butter in milk – use microwave or stove to heat milk with butter until melted. Believe it or not, warm milk helps with aeration in this cake. I doubted it, so I tried cold melted butter in the milk and found it didn’t rise as well.
Using warm milk with melted butter in cake batter is another technique used in some types of Japanese sponge cakes (like this one from Chopstick Chronicles, a Japanese food blog). Interestingly, I recently discovered that it is also used in a traditional southern cake called Hot Milk Cakes.
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4. Stir some yeast into warm milk – this serves two purposes: a) to lower the temperature of the warm milk so that it doesn’t “cook” the eggs (i.e. harden them). and b) it lightens the thickness of the hot milk (see above – it foams) so it mixes more quickly when added to the rest of the beaten egg mixture.
The melted butter in the warm milk infuses this cake with a beautiful subtle buttery flavor without the greasy feel found in butter cakes.
5. Slowly pour the milk mixture back into the beaten eggs for 20 seconds on Speed 1. Scrape down the sides of the bowls, then mix for 10 seconds on Speed 1 – the batter should now be smooth.
This cake can be made in different pan sizes, in pans and also makes perfect cupcakes. Click here for a handy chart of different cake sizes, baking times and heights (including 3 layer cakes).
Vanilla Sponge Cake Recipe
7. Remove large air bubbles by dropping the cake pans on the counter 3 times. This will not affect the cake-rising bubbles created in Step 1. But it does cause the large bubbles in the batter to rise to the surface and pop.
If you don’t do this, you end up with maybe 6 or so large bubbles on the surface of the cake that turn brown and more unsightly large air pockets in the crumb. Surface imperfections don’t really matter if you’re making ice. But if you’re not frosting the cake (eg just dusting with powdered sugar / powdered sugar), you might care.
8. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will have a slight dome but will flatten when it cools.
You may get the faintest cracks in the surface, as you can see in the middle of the left cake in the photo above. This can happen if your oven doesn’t distribute the heat evenly (my left front is hotter). But don’t worry – once the cake cools and the light dome straightens, the cracks will disappear.
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9. COOL upside down for flat cakes (so you have neat, even layers on a cake layer) on a cooling rack. If you don’t mind a light domed surface / specifically want to show off the beautiful golden brown surface (eg if you’re making a cake sprinkled with powdered sugar / powdered sugar or a frosting), then frost it right side up. and
10. Decorate! Drizzle with your favorite frosting, drizzle with cream, fresh berries, swirl with chocolate fudge frosting, or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of yogurt or cream!
The photos below are my attempt to show you how incredibly soft the cake still is four days after making it! If it was dry like typical butter cakes that start with “cream butter and sugar until fluffy” the crumb would break when I pierced it and never come back out.
Click here for a handy table of different cake pan sizes, baking times and cake heights. This vanilla cake will work with the following cake pan sizes:
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Clockwise from top left: Vanilla Cake Frosted with Vanilla Buttercream, Secret Less-Sweet Fluffy Vanilla Frosting with fresh flowers, chocolate buttercream and lemon frosting.
And with all that – I’m finally done. Finally happy. This is my best ever vanilla cake recipe. For birthday cakes, special occasions, to impress the pants off your family and friends.
This recipe is included in Mydebut Dinner. Mostly
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