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Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: 8 to 12

This versatile cake is a great base for other desserts, from a lemony roulade to chocolate-orange trifles to a decadent White Forest cake. It always comes out light and springy, yet sturdy enough to soak up flavorings without disintegrating. Bake it as a thin sheet, a square, or a round, depending on how you’ll be using it later.


  • 4 oz. (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 140
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 40
  • Fat (g): 4.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 80
  • Carbohydrates (g): 20
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 3


  • Choose your pan, depending on whether you’ll be making: a 9×3-inch round springform pan (for layer cakes), an 8×2-inch square cake pan (for trifles), or a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet (for roulades); line the bottom of the pan with parchment. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F for a round or square pan or to 400°F for a baking sheet.
  • Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  • With an electric mixer (hand-held or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt at high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when the stopped beater(s) are lifted, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not boiling.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift one-third of the flour over the eggs. Fold with a large silicone spatula until the flour is blended into the batter. Repeat with two more batches.
  • Pour all of the hot milk mixture over the batter and fold gently with the silicone spatula, scraping the batter up from the bottom of the bowl and rotating the bowl, until the milk is incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake until the cake is golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes for the round or square cake pans, or 10 to 12 minutes for the baking sheet. Set the pan on a rack to cool. After the cake has cooled completely, run a small knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pan, pressing against the pan to avoid tearing the cake. Invert the pan to remove the cake, and peel off the parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up.

Make Ahead Tips

A cake baked in the round or square pan may be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature for 2 days or frozen up to 3 months.

A sheet cake should be made into a roulade within 24 hours. Otherwise it may dry out and crack when rolled. If you’re not using it right away, wrap it airtight and store at room temperature.


The author prefers Gold Medal flour for this recipe; a higher-protein flour like King Arthur will make the cake coarser.


Rate or Review

Reviews (7 reviews)

  • scheiberoonie | 01/02/2020

    What’s all the fuss? I am making this cake later in the week and will be using four ounces of flour—which is just under one cup. Of course, flour is a broad term these days: various flours weigh various amounts; however, 4.5 ounces is fairly standard. A liquid cup holds eight liquid ounces. Half is four ounces. Get a scale and do it right. And trust that weight (a dry measure) is not the same as liquid (a wet measure). It’s weight vs volume (or how much space a liquid occupies, if you prefer).

  • panettone | 10/04/2019

    This recipe did not work for me using a 9x3 springform pan. It was so thick that even after 45 minutes the cake was not really done, even though it tested done, and it fell after I took it out of the oven. It might have been OK in two separate pans.

  • AnnMarieKiener | 06/05/2019

    The flour amount is NOT incorrect. The 4 oz. of flour is the WEIGHT that equates to 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs using dry measuring cups/spoons.
    Dry ingredients given in ounces are weight measurements, not liquid ounces. You are correct that 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs is very close to 1 full cup in your liquid measuring cup. It is actually just 1/8 cup short... But that is not how dry ingredients are measured in baking. That is also the reason why your cake still turned out perfect, despite your confusion.

  • Ifine | 10/08/2018

    In the end, the end result of the recipe STILL turned out perfect.

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