This light and airy sponge cake has a neutral flavor and lofty crumb, perfect for soaking up layers of cream, fruit, and preserves. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup (plus a little sugar for whipping the egg whites) which adds amazing depth of flavor. Use a lighter maple for a more classic sponge cake, or go dark if you want more earthy maple flavor. If you don’t have these flours handy, feel free to try this with 145 grams of your favorite all-purpose flour blend (such as Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 flour). See the variations below for classic vanilla sponge cake made with sugar instead of maple, as well as dairy-free, grain-free, and paleo-friendly variations. I’ve included the strawberry maple cream cake shown here, but feel free to fill this cake with whatever you like!
Prep Time: 20minutes
Cook Time: 30minutes
Cooling time: 1hour
¼cupsunflower oil or other neutral oil
3large egg yolks
½cup+ 2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼cupplus 2 tablespoons (55 g) sweet rice flour (or sub cassava flour by weight)
¼cupplus 2 tablespoons (50 g) millet flour (or sub sorghum flour by weight)
¼cupplus 2 tablespoons (40 g) GF oat flour (or sub teff flour by weight)
2pintbaskets strawberries, some hulled and quartered, some halved
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Line 2 ungreased 8-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment paper cut to fit. The cake batter will crawl up the sides of the ungreased pan as it bakes, making the cake extra fluffy.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, and maple syrup.
Place a strainer over the bowl and sift the sweet rice, millet and oat flours with the baking powder and salt directly into the yolk mixture, adding back any bits left behind in the strainer. Whisk until very smooth.
In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and whip until the whites are glossy and just hold a firm peak when lifted from the bowl and turned upside down, 1–3 more minutes.
Use a flexible silicone spatula to fold one-third of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined and no streaks remain.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pans and quickly but gently use an offset spatula to spread the batter into a thin, even layer.
Transfer the pans to the oven and bake until the cakes are golden, spring back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 20-30 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool completely in the pan.
To finish the gluten-free strawberry cake:
Whip together the mascarpone, cream, vanilla, and maple syrup together until the mixture holds firm peaks. Chill until needed.
To assemble the cake, remove one cake layer from the pan and peel off the parchment. Place the cake layer right-side up on a serving platter and spread with a little less than half of the whipped mascarpone. Dollop half of the strawberry jam over the cream and swirl lightly. Top with a layer of quartered strawberries and dollop with a bit more whipped mascarpone (this helps the upper layer stick to the bottom layer).
Remove the second cake layer from the pan, remove the parchment, and place on top of the bottom layer. Top with the remaining whipped mascarpone, swirls of jam, and the remaining quartered and halved berries. Decorate with maple candy, if using.
Serve right away or chill for up to several hours before serving. To serve, use a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each cut to slice the cake into wedges. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The cake can also be used to make trifle, tiramisu, and tres leches cake.Classic GF Vanilla Sponge Cake:Omit the maple syrup. Whisk the egg yolks with ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water, ½ cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.Citrus Sponge Cake:Make the version above, omitting the vanilla, and rubbing the zest from 3 lemons (or 2 oranges) into the ½ cup sugar before whisking in the other ingredients.Grain-Free Sponge Cake:Add 2 tablespoons water to the maple syrup mixture. Omit the flours and use ½ cup (75 g) cassava flour, ¼ cup (25 g) coconut flour, and 2 tablespoons (15 g) tapioca flour.Paleo-Friendly Sponge Cake:Use avocado oil or olive oil in place of the sunflower oil. (You will still need to whip the egg whites with the small amount of sugar, so this won’t be 100% paleo.)Dairy-Free Sponge Cake:Use a double batch of my paleo vegan "cream cheese" frosting or whipped coconut cream in place of the dairy in the filling.Do-Ahead:This cake can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store airtight in the refrigerator, or freeze for longer storage. The assembled cake can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in a cake box.Nutritions facts are for 1 of 10 servings of strawberry cream cake.