It’s been a while since I’ve been super excited about a cake recipe.
Sure, I’ve come across many good recipes. There’s a handful of my go-to’s, like my trusty chocolate cake which I almost always use for cake decorating. Come to think of it I’ve actually never posted the recipe up on this blog….
But I digress.
My point is I haven’t really raved on about a cake for a long time. Infact the last time I remember doing so was when I discovered my sour cream pound cake recipe. Which to this day is still one of my favourites I don’t make it often enough. Check it out if you haven’t. You’ll love it!
But today, I’m sharing a recipe that has absolutely stolen the crown of my all time favourite cake! I’m not even a person who chooses favourites so this is kind of a big deal. It’s so good I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve made it. And it’s only been three months since I discovered it.
It’s been a long time coming though! Some readers might know I’ve been on the hunt for a good sponge cake recipe for the longest time. And not just any sponge cake, I’m after the very specific type you get from Asian bakeries. If you’ve had Castella, or even a Japanese Cheesecake, you’ll know the kind of sponge I’m talking about. Moist, soft and fluffy, without being too sweet. And whilst I’ve had many sponge cake recipes which were really light and fluffy, none had that characteristic fine texture. I wanted light, but not too holey.
The first time I was really happy with a sponge cake recipe was when I made this birthday cake, my second attempt after an utter failure on the same day. There was my favourite chocolate sponge cake. Neither were perfect, the holes were a little too big which meant a lot of deflating, but they were delightfully soft and fluffy.
Then I discovered that what I thought was the recipe off a Youtube video, which involved an interesting method of cooking the flour with the butter before adding the milk and eggs. My first attempt was an unexpected success, as I’d overcooked the mixture and had to add additional milk. After 5 failed attempts to replicate it, it looks like the accidental slip up at was the key to the success.
And then I discovered this sponge cake recipe.
Castella cake to be exact. It’s off Xiachufang, the Chinese equivalent of Allrecipes, and having a stellar rating from over 6500 reviews (and a surplus of 8000 photos from people who have tried the recipe) I was easily sold. Just have a look at all the pictures yourself!
And it was everything it promised to be! The texture is absolutely amazing, it is so impossibly soft and spongey words cannot describe it- I’ll let the pictures do the talking. We tried a pretty well rated Castella cake store in Sydney and my family rated this recipe better. Because it is that good!
The recipe itself isn’t all that different to other sponges I’ve tried, the only step that’s a little different is that you have to heat the oil prior to mixing but otherwise, it’s pretty simple and straight forward. Apart from the hour in the oven, it’s also pretty quick to whip up too. And the best part? I’d consider it a fool proof recipe. I haven’t had any failures at all, with the exception of the cake going moulding during the warmer weather and my cheap aluminium pan scraping off onto the cake when I tried unmoulding it with a serrated knife. Because what’s a day in the kitchen without a few hiccups?
But no issues with the recipe at all. And with that, my search for the ultimate sponge cake recipe is officially over!
Here’s the recipe for my Soft Fluffy Sponge Cake:
I’d recommend watching the video tutorial before attempting the recipe, as it explains it in a lot more detail than I can put in writing!
- 75g Vegetable oil
- 90g Plain flour
- 60g Milk
- 6 Egg yolks
- 6 Egg whites
- 75g Sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 150degC.
- Heat oil in a glass jug on 'High' in the microwave for 1 minute.
- Pour hot oil into mixing bowl. Working quickly, sift the flour and whisk into oil to make a paste.
- Add milk and egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg white with the sugar, salt and lemon juice (if using) until soft peaks form.
- Fold the meringue (egg white mixture) with yolk batter with a spatula, working with 1/3 of the mixture at a time, until no more streaks of meringue can be seen. Pour batter into prepared pan and tap pan lightly to remove air bubbles. I use two 8 inch round cake pans.
- Bake the batter in a water bath for 60-70 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back with lightly touched.
- Remove cake from oven and drop it on your counter top 3 times to prevent shrinkage. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmoulding and allowing to cool completely.
- I used canola oil, but any neutral flavoured oil will work.
- I didn't use a real water bath, I put a tray of hot water on the rack below the cake and it seems to work fine (the water bath prevents the cake from cracking).
- I find I have to cover mine with foil about half way through baking to prevent the top from burning, it is important to note that every oven is different so I would recommend checking on the cake every 10 minutes or so.