White Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe
I love homemade cakes just as much as I love box mix cakes, but I think that going the extra mile to bake a cake from scratch deserves a special occasion and a special person to bake for. This White Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe makes three 8-inch cakes that are perfect for a birthday cake or even a wedding cake! It’s dense enough to stand up to heavy buttercream however, when you add some simple syrup to the cake, it lightens it up and creates a softer cake over night.
Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe
Light and airy sponge cake makes a great base cake for most frosting.
For the Cake
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cup sugar (divided, 1 cup in butter, 1/3 cup in egg whites)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or raspberry extract
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 egg whites
For the Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and prepare 3 9-inch round cake pans with butter and flour.
- Cream the butter, oil and 1 cup of sugar in a stand up mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add in the extract and zest. If you want the cake to have a mild flavor, use the vanilla; if you want a hint of raspberry in the cake, use that.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, add a third of the flour then half of the milk. Repeat the process ending with a third of the flour. Beat until the flour is just incorporated. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.
- Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Remove all oil from the bowl and wipe it clean.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks. Gradually add in the ⅓ cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the half of the egg whites into the cake batter with a large rubber spatula. Then fold in the other half until combined. You do not want to mix the two and burst the air bubbles in the egg whites.
- Wet your Bake Even Strips, wring them out, and wrap them around your prepared pans.
- Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The sides should start to pull away from the pan and the top should be set.
- Let cool in the pans for at least 30 minutes, then remove and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.
- Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for up to a week.
For the Simple Syrup
- Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and and cool to room temperature. Store in a closed container for up to a week. Only add to the cake when you are ready to frost it.
I’d like to discuss something new to me. Something that, until recently, I didn’t think I really needed. Just a small baking accessory that I thought for sure was a gimmick. Well, take a look at the photo below and let me know which cake looks better.
This sponge cakes recipe makes three cakes and I have three cake pans. I recently bought some Bake Even Strips that I got on a whim. I baked the Vegan Orange Chocolate Cakes using these strips for the first time and I definitely noticed the flatter tops.
With this light-colored cake, I was completely convinced that if you are serious about your cakes, you need to use some Evenbake Cake Strips.
The cakes bake up flat – no more cutting off the tops of the cakes. The sides and bottoms don’t get dark – no more hard edges. Look at that cake at the top of the stack there – That just looks bad! Sigh… why did I wait so long for something so simple?
Now on to this mess.
While these were cooling in the kitchen, I was preparing dinner. I turned to the stove to put dinner on my daughters plate and when I turned around, there were nibbles taken out of all three cakes! I shared the photo on Instagram and Facebook. While most people empathized with me, others told me to just frost the cake and nobody will ever know. I was seriously debating baking the entire thing over again.
That evening, I decided not to. I figured that if there were that many people who could relate to my story, then I was going to show everyone that it is possible to make a great cake with less than stellar cakes.
You’ll see the final, frosted product in this Raspberry and Lemon Layer Cake post. 🙂
Sponge Cakes are light and airy, but they can also be a tad dry.
To add some extra moisture to the cake, add some lemon simple syrup to the tops of the cake. I’m always nervous of making the cake soggy, but I wish that I had used MORE syrup on the cake. It really did add a lot of flavor and did not cause any mushiness or soft cake. The sponge cake needs a little moisture added back to it. Just dab the simple syrup on with a basting brush or use a squeeze bottle and add it that way.