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Mom's Sponge Cake

As long as I have been eating cake, the one that holds the most memories for me is my mother's sponge cake, made every Saturday afternoon in anticipation for Sunday dinner and drop in guests. A sponge cake is rightly named; light as a feather like a sponge and able to absorb wonderful flavorings and fillings.



5 large eggs at room temperature,separated

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon or orange juice

1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract

1 cup sifted unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons grated lemon or orange zest


2 cups whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

2 cups raspberries

Mint leaves for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Use a stand or hand mixer to bowl to beat the egg whites until foamy; beat in half of the sugar two tablespoons at a time until soft, glossy peaks form. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, lemon or orange juice, vanilla or almond extract, and salt. Stir in the zest.

Sieve the flour over the whites. Add the yolk mixture and gently fold in with a spatula without deflating the batter. Scoop the batter into a 9 x 3 inch tube pan. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air and settle the batter so it is even.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert cake pan over the neck of a bottle or if the pan has prongs, invert it on a cooling rack. Cool completely. 

Loosen cake all around the inside of the pan and around the tube with a butter knife. Gently shake cake out. Set aside.

Enjoy this sponge cake plain, with a dusting of confectioners' sugar over the top, or coated with a thin glaze made with confectioners' sugar and lemon juice.

For a fancy occasion, follow these directions, using the ingredients above.

Whip the cream until almost stiff; add the sugar and 1 cup of the raspberries. Whip in.

Cut the cake into three layers. 

Place one layer on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the filling over the layer. Top with second layer and spread another 1/3 of the filling. Place the last layer on top and spread the top with the remaining whipped cream. 

Garnish the top with the remaining raspberries and add mint leaves for decoration. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into wedges.


This recipe is featured on show 1808 - Happy Birthday.




  1. Albert J. Beltz's avatar

    Albert J. Beltz

  2. Marie N's avatar

    Marie N

    I watch your show often, and have tried several of the recipes. I would like to enter to win a year's worth of sauces, I just can not join Facebook, I am very skepticle of these kinds of sites, as I have been hacked two times, and lost everything I had on the computer. Is there anyway I can enter without joining? Thanks again Mary Ann, hope you have a great Mother's Day. I will be enjoying another one of your wonderful recipes tonight. Marie
  3. Rose J Vasapolli Koslow's avatar

    Rose J Vasapolli Koslow

    I have watched your show for years and one Italian to another I love watching all those dishes you cook on TV remind me of of all the meals my family cooked and I. I'm so happy when I watch your show because some of our dishes from Italy gets lost iver the years and seeing I remember them .Alot of the holiday pies and cakes you forget but you cooking them reminds us of them . I'm half Sicilian and half Neapolitan I want to say your are by far the BEST ITALIAN COOK on TV You are the GUEEN of doug for breads and pies .Take care Rose
  4. Christina Quinlan's avatar

    Christina Quinlan

    Does the tube pan need to be greased for the sponge cake recipe?
  5. Sarah Bommarito's avatar

    Sarah Bommarito

    Just tried your sponge cake for the second time. I did the lemon/almond the first and then orange/vanilla the second. My cake did not rise as much as yours either time. BUT, I did as the directions and not the video - and put the flour on the egg white, and then mixed in the yolks. Does that matter??? It has tasted good both times, and is spongy but just not as high as yours. Do you have the magic answer? Did not open the oven either time, until 25 min., and it only needed to back both times, about 28 min. My tube pan may be a bit bigger - as it is old! Thanks :)
  6. mary ann's avatar

    mary ann


    I think the problem is the size of the pan; since yours was larger, the cake would not be as high.
  7. mary ann's avatar

    mary ann


    I think the problem is the size of the pan; since yours was larger, the cake would not be as high.
  8. nancy  g visconti's avatar

    nancy g visconti

    My Mom always made a sponge cake too....yum! Hers was baked in two, 8" or 9" pans. Do you ever bake in layers? Thanks for your recipe.

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