I'm new to bakery and I can bake chiffon and angel food cake alright, but everytime(3 times) I bake chocolate sponge, I always end up with something with good moisture but super stiff. What could I have done wrong and how can I make the cake more tender in texture? Thanks!

My recipe: 3 eggs, 40g butter, 40g(in egg white)+20g(in yolk) sugar, 60g flour, 20g cocoa powder for a 8-inch square baking pan. 170°C, 10min.

And what I did:

Separate the egg white and yolk, whip the white until there's a curly spike when I pick up the wisk. During the whipping process, pour in the 40g of sugar.

Add 20g sugar to the yolk and stir until the mixture gets a bit pale.

Add 40g of melted butter into the mixture and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour 1/3 of the egg white foam into the yolk-butter mixture. Mix carefully as not to deflate the egg white. When mixed well, pour in the other 2/3 of egg white and mix.

Add in the flour & cocoa powder. Bake in preheated oven.

  • 1
    Did you forget to mention the leavening in the recipe only, or did you forget to add it to the cake too?
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:15
  • 2
    Also, what method are you using to make the cake. Method is as important as ingredients.
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:28
  • 1
    @rumtscho the recipe says the beaten egg whites will act as the sole leavening in sponge cake. Should I add some baking soda(because I've never used baking soda except for pound cake)?
    – arax
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:39
  • @GdD added above...I'm kind of worried that I'm stirring the flour mixture wrong but my other cakes are all fine xD
    – arax
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:42
  • 2
    @AlexSu I haven't seen a sponge cake leavened solely on eggs. The fat deflates the protein foam of the egg whites. What is your recipe source? If a recipe fails consistently, it is much easier to find another, working, recipe, than to try to troubleshoot the bad one. The Internet is full of great recipes for free.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 16:06

3 Answers 3


Sponge and pound cakes contain fat. Therefore, they are not usually made with pure egg leavening. Egg leavening relies on a protein-based foam (whipped eggwhites), and fat deflates protein-based foams and/or prevents them from "curing" at high temperatures.

If you found a sponge cake recipe without chemical leavening, this is a sign for a bad recipe. The best would be to search for a better recipe, especially if you are a beginner baker. Troubleshooting baking recipes is an advanced skill which requires both experience and theoretical knowledge - certainly attainable for the average home baker, but unnecessarily hard for beginners. With the tons of recipes available at your fingertips for free, it makes more sense to search for a better one. It will give you correct ratios and temperatures and save you failures and frustration.

And a small pedantic part: what you are making here is not a sponge cake, but a pound cake. They have the same ingredients, but sponge cakes are made using the creaming method, while pound cakes use melted butter. The upside: both of them are tasty :)

  • seems that there's some serious problem with the recipe I'm using now. got to find a better one
    – arax
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 4:30

My mother (a retired Irish Home Economics teacher!) says that a true sponge cake contains no fat (ie. no butter - butter in the recipe makes a 'butter sandwich cake', not a sponge). For her sponge, she separates the egg whites and yolks, beats them separately, and uses only the egg whites as the raising agent - and her sponges are beautiful!


try using a recipe without flour. or you could be over mixing the batter activating the gluten. or try another recipe!

  • 1
    I wouldn't suggest a recipe without flour, they are much trickier than the ones with flour.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 17:58

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