Sponge Cake

A simple recipe for a Gluten Free sponge that is light in texture and with less butter than many cakes. (A butter alternative is provided.)

When I was a child, the biscuit and cake tins at home usually containedAnzac Biscuits and fruit cake. I thought sponge cake must be difficult to cook. What a pleasant surprise when I discovered how simple it was!

Later, in my enthusiasm for healthy food and to make cooking simple, I learnt that you can use melted butter instead of creaming the sugar and butter. The result was a cake with less butter than most sponges without compromising the quality and without people suspecting. (Alastair, who is a ‘butter fiend’ left to his own devices, would not know except he is my editor.)

I have combined this different way of making sponge with my exploration ofGluten Free baking. I use a blend that gives a light product without the unusual flavours some flours give cakes.

The mix includes tapioca flour which can be difficult to find for which I must apologise as I try to use ingredients that are easily sourced. Chinese supermarkets are a good place to track it down if it is not available in your local supermarket. Alternatively, buy it online; or substitute my mix with a commercial Gluten Free flour mix. (If you use a commercial mix be aware that there may be a variation in the amount of liquid required; so, adjust the quantity of flour as you think necessary.)

Diets for which Sponge Cake is suitable:

Diary Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Nut Free and Vegetarian.


Preparation: 20 mins | Cook: 20+ mins | Serves: variable

4 eggs
200gm (1 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (2/3 cup) rice flour*
70 gm (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) potato flour*
30 gm (1/3 cup) tapioca flour*
1/2 tsp xanthan gum**
2 tsp baking powder
70 gm butter, melted and cooled (not Dairy Free, see notes)***


PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F/180˚C/gas 4.
LINE and grease the base of two 20 cm/8 inch cake tins with parchment paper.
WEIGH the flours, xanthan gum and baking powder and mix in a bowl. (Use a whisk to simply mix.)
BEAT the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer, at a high speed, for 6-8 minutes. (The mixture will thicken and become pale in colour.)
ADD the vanilla.
SIFT the flour mix over the egg and sugar mixture.
COMBINE by gently folding the flour through.****
ADD half the melted butter and gently fold it through.
ADD the remaining butter and gently fold it through. (Ensure the butter is mixed thoroughly but do not over-mix because you will lose the air in the cake and it will not rise as well.)
POUR half the mixture into each prepared tin.
BAKE for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. (The cake should spring back when lightly touched in the centre.)
TURN the cake onto a wire rack to cool.


– Victoria Sponge; dust with icing sugar and fill with raspberry jam.
– Makes goodlamingtons (squares of sponge dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut).
– Serve with soft fruit or make a trifle.


* Substitute the flour mixture with 200gm of Gluten Free flour mix. The consistency of the cake may altered slightly because the flours will require a different amount of liquid. Adjust the quantity of flour if necessary.
** Xanthan gum is not essential but it helps keep the cake moist and prevents it from crumbling. This is particularly important if the cake is not eaten on the day of baking.
*** Replace butter with coconut oil (solid at room temperature). This oil is sweet, providing a different flavour to butter.
**** If you are new to Gluten Free baking please read my pagePantry. There you will find some basic information about equipment requirements to prevent contamination.

Other Gluten Free baking recipes:

Chocolate Brownies
Ginger Apple Muffins
Pastry, Gluten Free

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