Chocolate Sponge Cake


one 8-inch (20 cm) cake


8 to 10

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

30 minutes


About this Recipe


Recipe from Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom
© 2023 Olson Food Concepts Inc. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

The cornerstone sponge cake of a baker’s kitchen is the genoise, which contains butter and is leavened with beaten eggs. This simple single-layer chocolate sponge cake has multiple uses: top it with cream and fresh fruit or use it in an assembled torte.


  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup (140 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ⅔ cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (40 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter, melted (still warm is OK)

The cake will keep, well wrapped, on the counter for 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan with parchment paper but leave the sides of the pan unlined and ungreased.

The sponge batter grips the sides of the pan as it rises and bakes, which keeps the top of the cake level. If you were to grease the sides of the pan, the outside edge of the cake would slip down and the centre of the cake would end up higher than the sides, resulting in a domed top. This tip applies only to sponge cakes.

Step 2

Warm the eggs in their shells. Fill a bowl with hot tap water and add the eggs. Let them sit for 5 minutes, changing out the water at least once to make sure the eggs really warm up.

Warmed eggs whip to a greater volume than cold or even room-temperature eggs. The warmth allows the sugar to dissolve quickly and that is the key to building structure when whipping. If you’re whipping eggs without sugar, warming them is less important.

Step 3

Whip the eggs. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the eggs with the sugar and vanilla on high speed until they triple in volume and hold a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, 5 to 8 minutes. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt and quickly fold in by hand.

When folding in the flour, use a whisk or the whip attachment of your mixer. These tools pull the flour gently through the batter without deflating it. You can switch to a spatula for the final few folds to make sure you get right to the bottom of the bowl.

Step 4

Mix in the butter. Spoon about 1 cup (250 mL) of the batter into the bowl with the melted butter and stir to combine. Add this mixture back to the base batter and fold to incorporate. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Step 5

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed. Place the cake pan on a rack to cool completely. To remove the cake from the pan, run a palette knife along the inside edge of the pan and remove the springform pan ring.