This sponge cake is light, fluffy, tall, beautifully moist and possible the best birthday cake recipe you will find.

Serves: Makes two round 20-cm cakes layered into one cake


Sponge cake 

  • 2 cups (320 g) plain flour 
  • 1½ cups (330 g) sugar 
  • 3 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1½ tsp (7.5 g) powdered gelatin 
  • ½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil 
  • 7 egg yolks 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cold water 
  • 7 egg whites 
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 


  • 2 cups (250 g) strawberries 
  • 2½ cups (600 ml) heavy cream (35 per cent fat) 
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ⅓ cup strawberry jam 

Related: 10 of the best Bluey birthday cake ideas


Sponge cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Place your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and gelatin into a bowl and whisk it to incorporate air and eliminate any lumps. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla, but do not mix. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until they form soft peaks. Using the same beaters, mix together the flour mixture on low speed until it is just combined. Fold in the egg whites in three batches. 
  4. Spread the mixture evenly in two lined 20-cm cake pans and bake for 35–45 minutes. 


  1. Whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until it is thick enough to holds its shape. Do not over-whip the cream or the fat and liquid will separate. 
  2. Wash and slice the strawberries. Reserving the perfect centre slices for the top of the cake, dice the remaining pieces. Spread jam on top of one of the cakes. Then using a large round piping tip (or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off), pipe round dollops of whipped cream around the edge of the cake, dragging the tail of each one toward the centre. Pipe more whipped cream in the centre of the cake and cover with diced strawberries, then place the second cake on top. For the top of the cake, pipe whipped cream around the edge in the same way, then pipe a second circle of dollops just inside the first. Finish with more whipped cream in the centre and lovely strawberry slices between each dollop of whipped cream. 

Watch how to make this cake.

Why use gelatin in a cake? 

In this recipe both the egg yolks and gelatin act as emulsifiers. Emulsifiers help ingredients that don’t normally mix, such as oil and water, to combine. 

Using emulsifiers increases batter stability during mixing and baking, resulting in a moister cake with uniform aeration. This is why all boxed cake mixes include emulsifiers. 

This is a recipe extract from Crazy Sweet Creations by Ann Reardon, Mango Publishing, RRP $46.99

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