Gluten Free Easy Sponge Cake

GF Easy Sponge Cake, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Really, truly, honestly…. this is the best and easiest cake I have ever made. And… I can’t even count how many times I’ve made it in the last 6 months – it’s that good and that easy.

I started making a cake like this back at Christmas. I was actually experimenting while trying to develop a sweet treat that we could share with family for Zoe’s baptism. My Love is not a sweet-eater, but he does love fresh fruit. He also likes fresh cream cakes from the Asian bakery… alas, those are not gluten free and I wanted to participate in the sweet-noshing because I *am* a sweets-eater!

This cake went over smashingly with a HUGE range of gluten eaters – ages 4 – 78! Thus, in one swoop, it made itself part of my go-to recipe repertoire. I have even made this dessert while my Love was clearing the main course dishes. Oh yea. It’s a dream dessert: delicious, easy and gluten free.

But I repeat myself. Maybe I should just stop typing and get to the recipe, huh? Well… okay then!

Feel free to fill this with whatever makes your mouth joyful. We use freshly made whip cream, strawberries and blueberries. (Sometimes strawberries and fresh mint leaves, etc) and dust the top with a bit of powdered sugar. The cake is light and moist – so it will adapt itself to any number of fillings or occasions. I think will agree – make just one and you will be back for more! :)

Here’s the recipe – please do let me know what you think and how you fill yours! :)

Gluten Free Easy Sponge Cake
Makes one sponge cake (length of a jelly roll pan or full sized cookie sheet), serves plenty! (depending on the size of your slices.)
You can find a printable copy of this recipe here.

Ingredients:
8 eggs, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup potato starch (NOT flour!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons GF vanilla extract
1 teaspoon GF lemon extract
1 teaspoon GF almond extract

TOPPING:

freshly whipped cream
fresh fruit  (strawberries and blueberries)
powdered sugar (for dusting)

Directions:

  1. Separate the egg whites and the yolks.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolks until light yellow and creamy – about 2 – 3 minutes)
  4. Sift together powdered sugar, potato starch (not flour!) and salt.
  5. Add sifted dry ingredients to the beaten egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the extracts.  Mix again.
  7. Using a spatula or spoon (not your mixer!), gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  8. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  9. Line a jelly roll pan or a full sized cookie sheet pan with parchment paper.
  10. Gently smooth the cake batter out to the length of your pan with even depth.  (My pan is 18″ by 13″ – and the batter is about 2/3 – 1″ thick).
  11. Bake the cake for 15 minutes then turn off the oven and open the oven door.  (I open the oven by cracking it open about 2-3 inches.)
  12. Leave the cake to cool in the oven for 5-8 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and cool.
  14. Gently lift the cooled cake up off the parchment paper just to loosen it from the paper.  Lay the cake back down on to the paper.  You will use the parchment to help you roll the cake.
  15. Top with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit slices.
  16. Have a piece of fresh parchment paper the length of your cake OR a serving platter that fits nearby.  Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake.  (I roll it so I have LONG cake (see picture) rather than rolling the short end and have a HUGE rolled cake.)
  17. Lay the cake on the fresh parchment or on your serving platter.  Gently lay a few pieces of fruit on top and dust with powdered sugar.
  18. Serve and enjoy! (We have served this with ice cream, macerated strawberries or whatever strikes our fancy/hits our budget point!)

Happy cake baking, everyone!
~Kate

49 comments on “Gluten Free Easy Sponge Cake
  1. Theresa says:

    Wow! That looks AMAZING! I think it’s time I got some potato starch :)

  2. Beth says:

    Ooooh… Thank you for posting this! I used to be a big fan of angel food cake, but wheat and I don’t get along anymore. This looks like a very satisfying alternative…

    • Melissa Burke says:

      Beth, if you see this post, check out taste of home. They have a gluten free angel food cake that I absolutely love. Just type in gluten free and it will bring up several recipes. I have made it several times and the guests say it is better than the store bought. I tell them da, I made it from scratch. ;-)

  3. Beth says:

    lol. I should note that I know this isn’t like an angel food cake. What I meant is I’ve been looking for something spongy that goes well with simple toppings like fruit! Yummmm…

  4. Looks delicious – and with all those strawberries right now, perfect!

  5. Mikki says:

    This looks like an AMAZING summer cake !! So light and not heavy!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kelly says:

    Hi Kate! We made this tonight! It was SOOOOOO good! I just made a 1/2 recipe and used a smaller cookie sheet and it still turned out great. We filled it with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries. It was a total hit with Briar, too!!!

  7. KariBerry says:

    Gorgeous photo is quite enticing! Sweet tooth and fruit lovers unite!

  8. Mathias says:

    Looks and sounds delicious :-)
    As I have also lactose intoleranze, I just have to use lactose free cream. No big deal.
    Thanks.

    Best regards
    Mathias

  9. Lindsey says:

    This looks amazing!! Can it be made without eggs? I usually use ground flax for my eggs. What do you think?

    • Kate says:

      Ohh… Lindsey – I don’t know. The basis of this cake is the eggs and the texture and consistency they bring. I don’ think this is the recipe I would sub out the eggs for something else. SORRY! ~Kate

  10. Lisa says:

    Fantastic cake! My husband and I made it for his mom’s birthday today and filled it with some local strawberries and whipped cream. It held together really well and was easy to roll – and was loved by gluten eaters too! Can’t wait to have the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow…

  11. I’m so glad you made this!! I have the hardest time finding a SIMPLE cake recipe that I can easily count on!! I’m trying this!! :-) I hope you are doing well! (((((((hugs!!))))))

  12. Rogene says:

    Oh Kate, a gluten free jelly roll! I never would have thought it possible, but yours looks delicious. You inspire me!

  13. I made this today for a celiac support group meeting and it was WONDERFUL!! And super easy.
    I also rolled mine from the long side. And Kate is right, this makes a lot. Next time I might make half and make it thinner – so that it rolls easier. Have you tried making it thinner, Kate? I used my biggest jelly roll pan and it was a lot.
    I rolled it up with strawberries and whipped cream in the middle.

  14. Annie says:

    Hi Kate, I’ve been reading (and loving!) your blog for a while but never posted. I made this for our 4th of July weekend and the taste was great but I did something wrong. Maybe you can help? The cake separated into 2 layers: the top was spongy and light, the bottom thick and rubbery. Best I can figure, the eggs separated and the bottom was the yolks. Maybe I didn’t mix the whites in thoroughly enough? I was worried I’d lose the “loft” if I did. Thanks for your thoughts, and your great blog! Annie
    PS We spread whipped cream and freshly-picked raspberries on it and loved it anyway!

    • Kate says:

      Yes – that would be what happened. You need to fold the egg whites in completely after they have been beaten to a stiff peak.

      I hope it still tasted okay!

      ~Kate

  15. Comfy Cook says:

    This looks like an amazing cake and it basically potato starch. I use potato starch all year so I can actually try this right awat, time permitting.

  16. Gina Chirillo says:

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I’ve made it twice now- very simple and so delicious. The first time was for the 4th of July. After dusting the entire top with powdered sugar, I made a field of stars with blueberries, helping to secure them with a little blackberry jam. Then I added stripes of srawberry slices. It was really lovely. Second time I made it, I put a layer of blackberry jam directly on the cake before adding the fruit and whipped cream. Yum!

  17. Lisa says:

    Kate!
    I’ve made this so many times since you posted it that I have the recipe memorized! It has become not only my family’s favorite but also a favorite wherever we take it. I’ll NEVER make an angel food cake again!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Lisa

  18. Kay says:

    Hi Kate
    Can you tell me what powdered sugar is? Is it icing sugar/caster sugar or slimmers type – canderel? I noticed that no-one else has asked this question….am I missing something?
    Thanks
    Kay

    • Kate says:

      Ohh! Good question, Kay! Powdered sugar in the US is called confectioner’s sugar in some parts of the US and I *BELIEVE* it is icing sugar in the UK.
      Hope that helps!
      Kate ;)

  19. Alison says:

    Kate, I had the same problem with the eggs separating. I made it according to the directions and stirred in the egg whites throughly. It was unique and definately made for a funny experience, but didn’t taste good. It tasted very eggy. Weird.

    • Kate says:

      Allison –

      I’m sorry to hear this didn’t work for you. To be honest, I haven’t been able to get it NOT to work in order to recreate what you two have experienced. (Maybe I need to have you guys come over and have a baking-day! That would be fun! LOL) Can you tell me if you started with room temperature eggs??? Or did you fold in the egg whites or stir them in? (These are my two starting points to figure this out.)

      I want to figure this one out! ;)
      -Kate

      • Annie says:

        Thanks Alison, for posting that, and thanks Kate for caring! I feel like an idiot, since I’ve now made it twice and the same thing happened both times. The egg whites (yes, room temp) were quite stiff, and I did the best I could to fold them in gently but still get them integrated completely (maybe I’m not that good at that part yet?). The batter looked lovely and fluffy. The cake smelled and tasted great. But there was a 1/4″ thick deep yellow rubbery layer at the bottom, and then a small amount of spongy cake above it. I do use farm-fresh eggs with seriously orange and meaty yolks. Could the yolks be so heavy that they sink during baking? Maybe I should try it with gross supermarket eggs next time? (But I love my farm eggs!) Any thoughts are most welcome as I fantasize about this cake turning out like your picture!!

        • Dear Annie –
          We’ve recently switched to pastured eggs…and guess what? It didn’t work! I had to go get a dozen at the supermarket and then I was successful again. I have no idea why (different fat content, I imagine) but it was true!
          -Kate

      • Annie says:

        PS I’d LOVE to come bake with you! But I live in Portland…

  20. Lori says:

    Has anyone tried using this recipe in a normal sponge cake pan? I was going to make a stand up birthday cake for my GF son, and was going to check with you first. We have made this recipe based on the directions listed a few times, and it is DELICIOUS!!!!

    • Kate says:

      I don’t know, Lori. Hopefully someone will have an answer for you that is more helpful than mine at the moment! :)
      I’m happy you like the recipe and it is working well for you too!
      ~Kate

  21. Dana says:

    Can you use Tapioca Starch or Corn Starch instead of Potato Starch? What seems to be the difference in these starches?

    • technically, yes. However, the texture between the three is different. Tapioca starch is slightly springy and lightly sweet. Cornstarch will be slightly grittier but light and potato starch will be dense and spongy.
      Hope that helps!
      -Kate

  22. Jill says:

    Has anyone tried to make this with any sugar replacements? Like agave nectar? Would love to try it but we are sugar free at our house.

  23. Sarah says:

    This has become one of my favourite quick recipes. I prefer cutting it in half when it’s in the pan, then stacking the two layers on top of each other. Just made one for Canada Day – whipped cream and strawberries in the middle, and whipped cream on top and strawberries laid out to look like a Canadian flag. I find that if you leave it in the fridge for a while, the whipped cream will bond really well to the cake – makes it look quite professional when cut into, and then cake will melt in your mouth. A big hit with both celiacs and non-celiacs!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  24. SeriousSadie says:

    I made this yesterday and ended up having to skin it like a fish because of the gelatinous layer others are describing. Being a fairly good baker Im pretty sure it wasnt technique, I think it was because I used a silpat instead of parchment. Will report back after trying it with parchment.

    • Dear SeriousSadie –
      We recently switched to pastured eggs at home and have found the same problem. Switching back to regular grocery eggs, however, made the problem go away. I imagine it the the different fat content in the egg? ????
      -Kate

  25. SeriousSadie says:

    Kate, that is really interesting. This was made with cage free organic super market eggs. Id hate to see what woulda happened with the ones from my local farmer if those are too fatty/yolky..I wonder if you could add a couple more egg whites or subtract a few yolks to make it not happen as Im not willing to give up my good eggs. ;)

  26. Erika says:

    I used your recipe for my son’s birthday party…he requested sponge cake and while he isn’t Celliac, I prefer to be as GF as possible. We also have some friends who need GF foods, so I try to make sure that we have things that they can also eat. Anyway…it was so easy to make and was a hit with kids and parents alike. Instead of rolling the baked sponges, though, I made it into a layer cake–I tripled the recipe and used the sheets of sponge cakes flat, baked smaller pans. For the filling I mixed raspberry preserves with GF whipped frosting. This is going to be my go-to cake now. Love it! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  27. nic says:

    HI there
    Im in Australia and experimenting with GF recipies. My sponge looked great but found it difficult to get off paper? I dont think left it in oven after cooking long enough, could that be the issue.
    Nic

  28. Marykay Hane says:

    I live in a high altitude area. I had the same problem with the separations but, after trying it again and not getting the eggs quite so stiff before folding them in, the recipe worked perfectly. I have found this on some other recipes too, including my angel food one.

    • Annie says:

      Thanks for the tip–I will try it with the egg whites softer and hope for the best. I’ve had this problem with other egg recipes as well–a rubbery layer on the bottom. I also wondered if more baking powder, or some type of emulsifier (lecithin?) might help? Any thoughts, anyone?

  29. I made this yesterday for a 4th of July bbq my family was having. sooo yummy!

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