Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake

Nothing beats Japanese cakes, seriously. Their texture is to die for. They are light, moist, soft and velvety; everything a good cake should be, in my opinion. I’m really glad I’ve found this recipe because I really do not want to fork out a lot of money just to buy a slice of them at the bakeries. They don’t come cheap. And why buy if I can just whip it up in my kitchen in just a few minutes (and save a whole lot of money in return, because one slice just isn’t enough). To think that the key ingredient for achieving their soft, moist and light texture is meringues (whipped egg whites), the price that you have to pay for them is unjustifiable. These cakes are not even hard to bake, trust me.

This recipe is a plain cake, with a subtle hint of butter. Which is good because my family doesn’t like cakes which are too… buttery (is that even a word?). Or dense, like carrot cakes. I highly recommend that you try this recipe out because it is really very good, considering the fact that my family and I had a hard time resisting the temptation to reach out for another slice of it. Like I said, one slice just isn’t enough.

You could also slice the cake in half horizontally and slab on a thin layer of buttercream (for a layer cake), but it is so good on its own, I don’t really see the point of doing it.

Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake (adapted from My Sweet Hut)


  1. Prepare an 8″ square baking pan and line it with baking paper.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 170°C.


  • 60 grams melted butter
  • 80 ml fresh milk (at room temperature)
  • 80 grams cake flour (sifted)
  • 1 egg and 5 egg yolks (lighten beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 5 egg whites
  • 80 grams sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. In a bowl, mix the melted butter and milk together.  Add in the sifted flour and mix them till they are well combined.

2. Add in the beaten egg yolks and vanilla essence into the flour batter. Mix till they are well incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar till they are foamy.  Add in sugar and salt in batches and continue to whip till the egg whites are smooth and glossy (close to stiff peaks). When you lift the batter up, the tips should stand with little crooks at the end of the tips.

4. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk and flour batter until they are well combined.  Fold another 1/3 of the meringues and repeat the same step until all the meringues are used up.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Tap the pan to remove any air bubbles in your batter.

6. Bake at 170°C for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 155°C and continue to bake it for another 30-35 minutes.

7. When the cake is ready, remove the cake from the oven and invert the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes (to prevent cake from sinking).

8. Remove the cake from the pan. Do not wait for too long, otherwise the heat will evaporate and condense into water, resulting in a wet cake bottom.

9. Let it continue to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting the cake with a serrated knife. Serve it as you wish.

This cake keeps really well too. Even after a couple of days without refrigeration, it is still light and moist. This one’s a keeper for sure. I can see myself baking more of this cake in the near future.