This super soft and fluffy 4 ingredient sponge cake is made without eggs, milk or butter. Delicious and quick to make with simple ingredients, just mixed in one bowl. It's the perfect base cake recipe for birthdays, any celebration, or an easy but impressive dessert.
This is one of my favorite versatile recipes. Bake as a celebration cake, layer frost and fill with buttercream or whipped cream. Or simply enjoy with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, topped with seasonal fruit and berries. And easy to flavor with any extracts you love too!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Self rising flour: This recipe uses self rising flour. It's important that you read the label on your bag of flour to be certain that it is self rising. It's also important that you use self rising flour or the substitute I have included in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. Without self rising or the substitute, the cake will be flat, dense and will not rise.
- Granulated white sugar
- Oil: Use a neutral flavored oil like either canola, vegetable or sunflower oil
- Water: Regular tap or bottled water at room temperature
*Scroll to the end of this post for ingredient measurements and complete instructions
How to make the Sponge cake
This is just the overview so you can see the process. When you are baking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Whisk self rising flour and sugar
- Add oil and water
- Whisk to form a smooth batter
- Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 356° F / 180° C (160° C fan) for 25 to 30 minutes
Self-rising flour is a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder and salt.
The baking powder contained in the self rising flour is what helps the cake to rise. This creates a soft light and airy bake instead of a densely baked cake.
All purpose and cake flour do not contain baking powder or any raising agent and cannot be used on it own in this recipe.
*The substitute for self rising flour for this recipe is included in the recipe card at the end of the post
Depending on the occasion or the mood you're in, there are countless ways you can incorporate flavoring into this cake.
Add flavoring extracts, fruit ,berries or chocolate into the batter
Or incorporate powdered spices like cinnamon or allspice into the flour.
The cake can be made in any shape of pan you prefer. The batter is sufficient to make any one of the following:
8 inch (20cm) round cake
8.5 x 4.5 inch (21.6 x 11.4 cm) loaf pan
8 inch (20cm) square pan
9 x 3 inches (23 x 8 cm) non stick bundt pan (well greased with cooking spray)
Recipe options and tips
- Double the batter for a layered cake
To bake a two layered cake, the ingredients can be doubled and mixed together in one bowl.
However I suggest you divide the batter into two pans when baking. Weigh the batter when trasfering into the two pans for even layers.
- WHY? The baked cake is very soft even when cooled. Dividing a doubled batter cake that has been baked in a single pan is likely to break or crack. It will be more stable and easier to handle when baked separately.
- TIP: Weigh the batter when transferring into the two pans for even baked layers.
- Frosting and decorating ideas
When it comes to flavoring, frosting or decorating, the sky's the limit for this cake.
From a simple vanilla flavor dusted with powdered sugar to a rich lemon buttercream or fondant covered, the choice is yours.
Here are a few great suggestions if you will like to give it a try
- 3 ingredient whipped cream frosting (stabilised, no gelatin)
- Vanilla buttercream from my vanilla cupcake recipe
- Coffee buttercream from my coffee cupcakes recipe
- Lemon zest or lemon extract
- Cover with buttercream and fondant.
- Top with powdered sugar and seasonal fruit or berries
Sponge cake without eggs, milk or butter
- 2 cups self-rising flour It's important that you use self-rising flour or the substitute I have included in the notes below
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup water at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 356° F / 180° C (160° C fan)
- Grease and line a round 8-inch (20cm) baking pan. See notes
- Whisk together the self-rising flour and white sugar in a large bowl.
- Pour in the oil and add the water.
- Whisk together to form a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a spatula around the edges of the cake, loosening it from the pan. Then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost or decorate as preferred.
* The ingredients can be doubled for layered cakes. See the post above on guidelines regarding doubling the batter and baking for layered cakes
- At room temperature: This cake will keep for 3 days covered at room temperature.
- Freezing: For longer term storage, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap as a whole cake or cut into pieces, wrapped individually, then frozen. Freeze the cake without frosting.
- Defrost the cake completely at room temperature before frosting.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour,
- 3 level teaspoons of baking powder (not baking soda) and
- ½ a teaspoon of salt
- 8 inch (20cm) round cake
- 8.5 x 4.5 inch (21.6 x 11.4 cm) loaf pan
- 8 inch (20cm) square pan
- 9 x 3 inches (23 x 8 cm) non stick bundt pan (well greased with cooking spray)
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