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4.79 from 14 votes

Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake is a delicate and fluffy cake that melts in your mouth. It has a unique texture that is often described as soft as cotton, hence the name. This cake has a high proportion of egg to the amount of flour. Since the proportion of flour is low, Cotton Sponge Cake shouldn’t rise too high when baked to prevent it from collapsing after baking, it should be baked at low heat with water bath.

Many variations of the Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake exist, including those infused with flavors such as Matcha Cotton Sponge Cake, Pandan Cotton Sponge Cake, etc. This cake is a popular dessert in Japan and has gained popularity worldwide due to its heavenly texture.

Perfect Sponge Cake Recipe: Understanding The Science

Let’s Talk About the Science Behind the Perfect Sponge Cake

So, you want to make the perfect sponge cake with that light, fluffy texture everyone loves?

Sponge cakes owe their unique structure to the trapped air bubbles in the beaten egg mixture. As the cake bakes, these bubbles expand, making the cake rise and creating that airy texture that sets sponge cakes apart from other types of cakes.

In this sponge cake recipe, you’ll whisk egg whites in a clean bowl until foamy, then add salt and lemon juice. Gradually add sugar while whisking on low speed until a shiny soft peak with an arch shape forms.

To whip up the perfect sponge cake, remember these crucial tips: First, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. Cold ingredients can mess with the batter’s consistency and the cake’s final texture. And second, egg whites and equipment used must be grease-free, water-free, and egg yolk-free. Finally, over-mix can deflate the precious tiny air bubbles, and that leaves you with a denser, less fluffy cake.

What sets a sponge cake apart from a regular cake?

Well, sponge cakes have a higher egg-to-flour ratio, and they get their lift from beating air into egg whites, rather than relying on a leavening agent like baking powder. On the other hand, pound cakes focus more on whisking butter with flour, and they count on a raising agent to help them rise.

CHINESE VERSION: 日式棉花海绵蛋糕-不收缩做法

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
 

Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake | MyKitchen101en

Ingredients:

  • 80 g (about 2.8 oz) butter (salted)
  • 110 g (about ⅓ cup + 2 tbsps) evaporated milk
  • 110 g (about 1 cup + 5 tsps) cake flour
  • 1 egg (size: L)
  • 7 egg yolks (size: L)

Ingredients for meringue:

  • 7 egg whites (size: L)
  • ⅓ tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 160 g (about ¾ cup + 2 ½ tsps) fine sugar

Directions:

1 Grease and line 8″/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper. Fold a larger piece of aluminium foil into half to create 2 layers, top with 6-7 pieces of kitchen towels, wrap the bottom of the baking pan with the aluminium foil.

(Reminder: Some moulds have joining parts at the bottom that water may seep in, thus you need to line the outside of the baking pan with a thick layer of paper kitchen towels and wrap with 2 layers of aluminium foil. The paper kitchen towels can absorb any water accidentally seeping in as well as preventing the baking pan with batter from contacting with the larger pan, so that it is not too hot. If you use mould without joining parts, then don’t have to wrap with foil, just put a piece of cloth at the bottom of the baking pan with batter to replace the kitchen towels.)

 

2 Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.

3 Combine butter and evaporated milk, heat up over medium-low heat until butter has melted.

 

4 Sift in cake flour, mix until combined.

5 Combine 1 egg and 7 egg yolks, add to batter gradually, mix until smooth.

6 In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add in salt and lemon juice, whisk until small bubbles are formed. Add in sugar gradually, whisk on low speed until soft peak (meringue is shiny with arch shape).

(Reminder: Egg whites and equipment used to beat egg whites must be grease-free, water-free and egg yolk-free. It is advisable to clean the egg shells and equipment with dishwasher detergent, then dry with a clean cloth. Use a clean small bowl to separate the egg yolk and egg white, if the egg yolk cracks, don’t use that egg white.)

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

7 Add meringue to egg yolk batter in 3 batches, mix gently with hand whisk.

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

8 Fold gently until well mixed with spatula. Tap mixing bowl a few times on countertop to burst large bubbles. (Reminder: Do it quick but gentle to avoid deflating the meringue. Scrape the bottom of mixing bowl with spatula and fold over, repeat folding motion until just well mixed.)

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

9 Pour the batter into lined baking pan, tap a few times to break large bubbles.

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

10 Put baking pan with batter into a larger pan, then fill the larger pan with plain water, about 1″ high, for water bath.

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

11 Bake at 150°C/300°F for 1 hour 50 minutes, until fully cooked. (Reminder: If your Cotton Sponge Cake does shrink when out of oven, then your oven temperature is too hot. Try reducing baking temperature to 140°C. The cake should rise slowly during baking to prevent it from over-rising then collapsing when out of oven.)

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

12 Drop the baking pan from 1 foot high onto countertop to minimise shrinkage.

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

13 Unmould Cotton Sponge Cake and cool completely on wire rack (at least 6″ from countertop) .

Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

14 Cut into pieces with serrated knife when completely cooled.

Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake

Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake

Easy Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake Recipe

The texture of Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake is as soft as cotton, it has a high proportion of egg to the amount of flour. Since the proportion of flour is low, Cotton Sponge Cake shouldn’t rise too high when baked, or it will collapse when out of oven, it should be baked at low heat with water bath.

Rate

4.79 from 14 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 24 pieces
Calories 96 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 8″/20-cm square baking pan
  • 1 10"25-cm square baking pan

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

  • 80 g about 2.8 oz butter (salted)
  • 110 g about ⅓ cup + 2 tbsps evaporated milk
  • 110 g about 1 cup + 5 tsps cake flour
  • 1 egg size: L
  • 7 egg yolks size: L

Ingredients for meringue:

  • 7 egg whites size: L
  • tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 160 g about ¾ cup + 2 ½ tsps fine sugar

Instructions
 

  • Grease and line 8″/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper. Fold a larger piece of aluminium foil into half to create 2 layers, top with 6-7 pieces of kitchen towels, wrap the bottom of the baking pan with the aluminium foil.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Combine butter and evaporated milk, heat up over medium-low heat until butter has melted.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Sift in cake flour, mix until combined.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Combine 1 egg and 7 egg yolks, add to batter gradually, mix until smooth.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add in salt and lemon juice, whisk until small bubbles are formed. Add in sugar gradually, whisk on low speed until soft peak (meringue is shiny with arch shape).
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Add meringue to egg yolk batter in 3 batches, mix gently with hand whisk. Fold gently until well mixed with spatula. Tap mixing bowl a few times on countertop to burst large bubbles. (Reminder: Do it quick but gentle to avoid deflating the meringue. Scrape the bottom of mixing bowl with spatula and fold over, repeat folding motion until just well mixed.)
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Pour the batter into lined baking pan, tap a few times to break large bubbles.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Put baking pan with batter into a larger pan, then fill the larger pan with plain water, about 1″ high, for water bath.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Bake at 150°C/300°F for 1 hour 50 minutes, until fully cooked. (Reminder: If your Cotton Sponge Cake does shrink when out of oven, then your oven temperature is too hot. Try reducing baking temperature to 140°C. The cake should rise slowly during baking to prevent it from over-rising then collapsing when out of oven.)
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Drop the baking pan from 1 foot high onto countertop to minimise shrinkage.
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking
  • Unmould Cotton Sponge Cake and cool completely on wire rack (at least 6″ from countertop).
    Cotton Sponge Cake without shrinking

Video

Notes

Some moulds have joining parts at the bottom that water may seep in, thus you need to line the outside of the baking pan with a thick layer of paper kitchen towels and wrap with 2 layers of aluminium foil. The paper kitchen towels can absorb any water accidentally seeping in as well as preventing the baking pan with batter from contacting with the larger pan, so that it is not too hot. If you use mould without joining parts, then don’t have to wrap with foil, just put a piece of cloth at the bottom of the baking pan with batter to replace the kitchen towels.
Egg whites and equipment used to beat egg whites must be grease-free, water-free and egg yolk-free. It is advisable to clean the egg shells and equipment with dishwasher detergent, then dry with a clean cloth. Use a clean small bowl to separate the egg yolk and egg white, if the egg yolk cracks, don’t use that egg white.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 44mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 177IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword cotton sponge cake, japanese sponge cake
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