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Vanilla Sponge Cake without butter | Cotton Cake Recipe | No Butter No Baking powder Cake Recipe

Castella Vanilla Sponge Cake is a popular cake from japan. This cake was brought to japan by Portuguese. This cake requires no butter and baking powder. The egg make the cake rise. It is little tricky that the egg white should be beaten properly and requires water bath while baking. Please read the note section for more tips and tricks on how to prevent the cake from shrinking and becoming dry. The ingredients listed is for 7 inch cake pan.
Kowsis Foodbook celebrates its 250th post with this delicious super soft sponge cake.
Also check my other cake recipes,

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Recipe Cuisine: Japanese | Recipe Category: Baking / Cakes
Prep Time: 10 mins | Baking Time: 1 hr | Cake pan used: 8" x 2"


Cold Egg whites - 4
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Vinegar / Lemon Juice - 1 tsp

Ingredients 2:

Egg yolks - 4
All purpose flour / Maida - 3/4 cup
Oil - 5 tblspn
Warm Milk - 4 tblspn
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Sugar - 3 tblspn
Salt - a pinch


To begin with the recipe, first separate the egg yolk from the white. Refrigerate the egg white to maintain the temperature.

In a bowl, take the egg yolks and beat well. To this, add in warm milk, oil, vanilla essence and 3 tablespoon sugar. Beat well so that the sugar gets dissolved in the mixture.

Sift the flour and salt thrice and add little by little to the above mixture. Mix well.

Now in another bowl, take the egg whites. Beat well till it begins to froth. At this stage, add 1/3rd of the sugar(from 1/2 cup) and little lemon juice to it. Beat again for about 1 minute. Again add little sugar and beat well for 1 minute. Then add the remaining sugar and lemon juice and beat till its texture begin to change to more thick and foamy(stiff peaks is formed just like in meringues).

At this stage, add the egg yolk mixture to the egg white and fold gently. Do not over mix as cake will not rise properly.

Line the cake baking tin as shown in the picture(see the step by step pictures below). Pour the batter to the baking tin and tap it few times to spread the batter evenly. Place the baking tin inside another tray filled with water.

Preheat the oven to 150 C (305 F) and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour in water bath.

Once baked, leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes and take it out. Do not take the cake immediately after baking. Otherwise the cake will shrink in few minutes.

Allow the cake to cool before making slices. Enjoy!

  • If you do not have extra baking tray, bake the cake in preheated oven for 35 minutes in 150 C and 3 minutes on 170 C.
  • Use cold eggs as room temperature eggs deflates easily.
  • Do not over mix the batter after the yolk and flour mixture is added. Cake will not rise if you over mix it.
  • Water bath is required to maintain the temperature for the cake and avoid burning as this is a slow process. This will prevent from burning on the bottom and sides. Also it prevents from drying of cake.
  • Make sure there is no egg yolk in the separated egg white while beating. Otherwise it may not form like meringue properly.
  • Should not over beat or under beat the eggs. It should be like a meringue consistency(stiff peaks).
  • Do not bake at high temperature as this requires slow baking.
  • If your cake shrinks after baking, it should be baked 5 to 10 minutes more.
  • Egg will make the cake rise so we do not add baking powder in this recipe.
  • The height of the cake depends on the size of the pan used.

Keep all your ingredients ready
Follow the tips to cut the parchment paper to required round shape easily. Grease the sides of the baking tin with butter or oil
Separate the egg yolk from the white. You shall refrigerate the white till the flour mixture is ready
Beat well
To this, add 5 tblspn of oil
4 tblspn of wam milk is added
Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Now, add in 3 tblspn of sugar
Beat till the sugar dissolves
Sift the flour, salt and add little by little
Mix well
Add remaining flour and mix till it is incorporated well
Now, take the egg white. Make sure the egg white is cold. Do not use room temperature eggs.
Beat well till it begins to froth
Now, add 1/3rd of the sugar
Add little lemon juice and beat for a minute with a electric mixer
Add little sugar and repeat the process
Beat well it until the texture begin to change to more thick and foamy 
You should be able to make stiff peaks like this
Now, add the flour batter that we prepared.
Gently fold
Do not over mix as egg will deflate and the cake will not rise properly
Pour the batter into the lined baking tin and tap it few times to spread the batter evenly
Place the baking tin inside another baking tin or tray and pour little water to it. If you do not have extra tray then bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes in 150 C and 3 minutes in 170 C.
Preheat the oven to 150 C or 305 F. Bake the cake in water bath for 50 minutes to 1 hour. As it is baked for a long time in low temperature, to avoid burning on the bottom and the sides of the cake we are adding water.
After 50 minutes, prick the centre of the cake with a wooden skewer to check if it is done.
Once it is done, leave the cake for 10 minutes and take it. This is to avoid shrinking.
Remove the parchment paper and once cooled cut them into slices.


  1. Great to see a cake recipe in your website Kowsi :) Cake looks so delicious and perfect. You are a very good cook. Love all your recipes. I tried many veg and non vegetarian recipes and always got appreciated from my husband and family. Would love to see video recipes from you soon ;)

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