Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Gluten free sponge cake is a light and airy treat that I think of almost like a blank gluten free cake canvas. It has such mild flavor that I can … more »

Gluten free sponge cake is a light and airy treat that I think of almost like a blank gluten free cake canvas. It has such mild flavor that I can serve it however I like: with or without fruit, with just a big dollop of whipped cream, or with a drizzle of simple syrup. And it’s the perfect end to a big meal on a warm day. Remember that it’s called sponge cake, though! It’s very simple, and anything but a typical, super-moist gluten free cake.


Gluten free sponge cake is very similar to gluten free angel food cake, but it makes use of the egg yolks instead of just the whites, resulting in a more flavorful, slightly more moist cake. And although I really do not like to sift flours, both sponge cake and angel food cake call for sifting. I’m sorry I love you and it’s worth it.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

It probably won’t come out of the pan looking 100% perfect (well, mine sure didn’t), but it’s not meant to be served all by its lonesome anyhow. And although you could make it in a bundt or tube pan, personally I find it’s not worth the nail-biting over whether or not it’s going to come out of the pan in one piece. I don’t know about you, but if I’m baking in a bundt pan that isn’t brand spankin’ new, I know it’s likely to stick and I’m a nervous wreck getting it out of there. Those pans are like cake prison.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

A word about the gluten free flour blend in this recipe. Please use my basic Xanthan Gum-Free Basic Gluten Free Flour Blend, or your favorite, comparable blend. But no xanthan gum! I learned the hard way that if you include xanthan gum in this recipe, the egg yolk mixture clumps terribly and leads to a lumpy, clumpy sponge cake. More tips and tricks below in the printable recipe, as always. For you? Anything:

Prep time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 35 minutes       Yield: 1 9-inch round cake

4 eggs (240 g, out of shell), separated

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

10 tablespoons (88 g) Basic Gluten Free Blend (Xanthan Gum free)

2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan well and set it aside.

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until pale yellow. Sift the flour blend, cornstarch and salt into the egg yolk mixture, and beat until well-combined. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

  • Clean out the mixer bowl very well, and place the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, and beat until glossy, stiff (but not dry) peaks form. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the egg yolk mixture and the vanilla into the egg white mixture, and beat until just combined. The mixture should be smooth and glossy.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (30 to 40 minutes). Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Serving Suggestion: Slice the cake in half horizontally, fill with fresh whipped cream and a layer of sliced strawberries. Top with more whipped cream and another layer of sliced strawberries. Chill for about 2 hours before serving. TIP: If you plan to slice the cake in half, freeze it for a few hours first!



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! You are the wind beneath my blog wings!

  • Jennifer Sasse

    This looks fabulous! I love all these basic every day recipes made over – you’re the best! :)

    • gfshoestring

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m all about the every day comfort recipes. I just want us to have the same choices as everyone else. Full stop!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Michelle

    Thanks so much for this! I love the strawberry cream cake in the picture, and I have an old recipe from a neighbor that uses a sponge cake and lemon- I’ll have to see if I still have the recipe. Yay!

    • gfshoestring

      Sounds fab, Michelle!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Katherine Kurima

    okay, I have another question. I want to try the sourdough recipe in your book. So I made the starter and following the directions leaving it on the counter. I don’t want to put it in the fridge, I want to use it! So I don’t need to feed it right? I would only need to feed it if I had it in the frig, right?!

    • gfshoestring

      If you have just made it and it is ripe, Katherine, then that’s right. Just use it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer

    I cannot wait to try this recipe! I have to say, I love love love your cookbooks! My all time favorite recipe as of right now is the sweet and sour chicken. I also love your fresh pasta dough for homemade lasagna and pierogies!

    Something I find to be helpful when removing cakes from pans is to line the pan with wax paper before cooking. It makes removing cakes super easy and less cleanup!

    • Jennifer Sasse

      actually a safer option to wax paper would be unbleached parchment paper. but great tip! :)

      • gfshoestring

        Thanks for jumping in, Jennifer! Baking with wax paper is generally not a good idea!
        xoxo Nicole

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  • Judy

    Oops, you call for 3/4 cup sugar in the ingredients list, but when I get to the directions, each step calls for 1/2 cup sugar!. Which step calls for the 1/4 cup?

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Judy, the following step properly said 50 grams of sugar, but improperly stated the volume. I have fixed it. Sorry about that!


    I have this in the oven right now and my house smells divine! Thanks, Nicole! I can already tell this is going to be another of your recipes that Celiac me falls in love with and my party guests would never think is gluten-free. You give gluten-free a good name, my dear! Thank you!

    • gfshoestring

      Oh, Allison, I just saw on Twitter what Grover the Cat did to your lovely sponge cake! Well, practice makes perfect. :)
      xoxo Nicole


        Ha! Crazy beast! No more cooling cakes on the table for me! But I quickly baked another, topped it with whipped cream and macerated strawberries, and it was devoured at the party! Perfect, perfect cake. Thank you for all you do! And P.S. I am using your bagel recipe from one of your cookbooks (I have both) combined with a recipe from the Mamafoku Milk Bar cookbook to make their Bagel Bombs. I know they will be perfect…all your recipes are!

  • Amy

    Could you use this recipe to make a trifle?

    • gfshoestring

      Sure could, Amy! Anything you could do with a conventional sponge cake recipe, you can do with this one. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Gail

    Made this tonight… so good!! However the bottom stuck to the pan. We just cut wedges out and dolloped on the whipped cream and berries. Next time I will definitely use the parchment paper. Thanks Nicole, for another great recipe.

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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