Butterfree Vanilla Sponge

The simplest of Sponges to make, this is used as a base for many of my cakes, especially mousse cakes. The cake has no butter, so you can pretend it’s very healthy like I do.
The batter consists of very lightly whipped egg yolks, folded with flour and fluffy egg whites. The egg yolks need to be mixed for quite some time, so having a freestanding mixer (or a lot of patience) does help.
Varying the milk into other liquids allows for many variations of this basic recipe. Substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean if not using milk.


  • 200ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 300gr sugar
  • 300gr flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder


Pour the milk in a sauce-pan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out into the milk. Also add the empty vanilla pod to the milk. Bring the milk to the boil, then turn off the heat and let the milk cool down.

Separate the eggs, placing the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl (if you have a freestanding mixer, use that one for the egg yolks) and the egg whites in a fat-free large mixing bowl. Set the egg whites aside for now.
Add the sugar to the egg yolks. Whip up the egg yolks for 3 minutes. Take the vanilla pod out of the room temperature milk, and carefully pour the milk in with the egg yolks while the mixer is running. Whip the egg yolk mixture for another 7-8 minutes, so a total of at least 10 minutes. The mixture will be very light and frothy.

Beat up the egg whites. Combine the flour and baking powder and gently – yes I really mean very gently, the gentler the better the results – fold it into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold the egg whites in gently.

Pour the cake batter gently into (one or) two springforms, unbuttered and unfloured, but with baking paper on the bottom. If you spread the batter a bit while pouring, this avoids you losing air while pushing it around with a spatula. Spread the batter in the springform by tilting the form and as a last resort, with a spatula.

Bake for 25-30min on 180°C. If using one springform, bake 45min.
A wooden skewer should come out dry.

After baking, flip the springform upside down and let the cake cool fully like that. Having not buttered the sides should keep the cake sticking enough. Cooling it upside down will avoid it losing most of its air.

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