Traditional sponge cake is naturally dairy-free, and made simply with eggs, sugar, and flour. The eggs do all the heavy lifting, so no baking soda or baking powder is needed. And no fats are used either (adding butter makes it a butter cake, and adding oil makes it a chiffon cake). Dairy-free sponge cakes is a little denser than angel food cake, since you use both the egg yolks and whites (no waste!), but it’s still relatively light and fluffy.
Basic Dairy-Free Sponge Cake, Ready for Your Favorite Toppings
This particular version is a biscuit sponge cake, because the sugar is blended into both the whites and the yolks for a cake that holds its shape a little better. Classic sponge cake doesn’t contain any added flavors, because it’s intended to be a base for toppings and flavors. Here are some popular ways to enjoy dairy-free sponge cake:
- Top or layer the cake with dairy-free coconut whipped cream or store-bought whip and fresh fruit. Add strawberry sauce for a fancier dessert.
- Drizzle flavored syrup or liqueur over the cake (poking holes is optional). It’s called sponge cake for good reason. It soaks up flavors like a sponge!
- Serve topped with seasonal fruit and dairy-free creme anglaise.
- Bake the cake in a jelly roll pan and use it as the base for a dairy-free jelly roll cake. You will need to reduce the baking time, which can range from 12 to 20 minutes.
- Enjoy it as a classic two layer dairy-free sponge cake with jam filling and dairy-free frosting.
- Simply dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar. It’s still pretty darn good on its own!
Special Diet Notes: Basic Dairy-Free Sponge Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, oil-free, and vegetarian. If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone! See this post: Are Eggs Dairy?.
- 6 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar (see Note below)
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup cake flour (see All-Purpose Option below)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, and cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans.
- Separate the eggs, putting the whites in large mixing bowl and the yolks in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the cream of tartar and ½ cup sugar to the whites and beat with a mixer or hand mixer (you can use a whisk, but it's a workout!) until stiff peaks form.
- Add the remaining ½ cup sugar to the yolks and beat or whisk until very thick and light yellow in color.
- Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.
- Gently fold in the flour, ⅓ cup at a time, until combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans.
- Bake the cakes for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pans, before carefully removing them and taking off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely.
All Purpose Flour Option: Substitute ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for the cake flour. Thoroughly whisk the two ingredients together before adding to the recipe.