Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Besides using this gluten free sponge cake to make gluten free lady fingers and tiramisu cake, you can use it as a substitute for shortcake. Remember those individual portion cakes you used to find near strawberries in the produce department of your grocery store? Well, you can make a sponge cake version at home. I’ve included recipes for a couple of different variations using strawberry, chocolate ganache, and sweetened whipped cream.

This gluten free sponge cake is a great way to have your cake and eat it, too! – any way you desire. Fill them with sweetened whipped cream, or custard and strawberries, to make a gluten free shortcake. Make mini shortcakes to duplicate the ones in the store. Just halve them if you prefer that size. Add chocolate ganache to middle and top layers, or one or the other; add strawberries or cherry pie filling, and add whipped cream or custard to both or just one layer. You may also break this gluten free sponge cake in pieces and create a parfait. The possibilities are endless! Look below for all of these gluten free recipes.

Inside Texture: To see a pic of the inside of this cake, once refrigerated, take a look at my Gluten Free Tiramisu Cake Recipe.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Makes one 10-inch round or 4 mini cakes

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Whether it's strawberry season or not, you can make gluten free strawberry short cake with frozen strawberries and this wonderful gluten free sponge cake; or make a 2-layer cake!


    For the Sponge Cake:
  • 1 cup Carla's Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend, sifted
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated when ready to use
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • The Perfect Whipped Cream Recipe (optional)
  • Chocolate Ganache (optional)
  • For the Strawberry Sauce*:
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons tapioca flour
  • 8 ounces fresh or thawed, frozen, unsweetened strawberries, sliced, including juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


    To Make the Sponge Cake:
  1. Oil an 8 to 10-inch springform pan or 4 mini springform pans. Line bottom with parchment paper. Then oil the top of the parchment. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In the large bowl of your mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping bowl if needed.
  3. Pour in boiling water a tiny bit at a time, for 1-1/2 minutes, while mixer is running on high speed. (Doing so slowly beats air into the batter.) Allow to cool for 2 minutes. Then stir in vanilla on low speed.
  4. Gradually add the flour blend and salt, mixing on low speed until smooth.
  5. Using a clean mixing bowl and beater(s), whip egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until they reach firm, stiff peaks, about 2 to 2-1/2 minutes using a high-powered mixer.
  6. Using a rubber spatula or the paddle attachment of your mixer, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter until no streaks remain. Repeat with remaining egg whites one-third at a time. (Over mixing will result in a heavy cake.)
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared 10-inch pan. Alternatively, distribute evenly among 4 mini springform pans, a little more than half full. Smooth out the top(s). (Do not hit on counter to even, as this will cause the air bubbles to surface or pop).
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cake(s) springs back when pressed lightly with fingertips.
  9. Remove cake(s) from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. The sooner removed, the better, as steam will build up. However, removing it too early will break the cake(s). While the cake(s) cools, oil a wire rack for cooling; set aside.
  10. Unlock the springform pan. Gently remove the springform ring. Holding the bottom of the pan, turn the cake upside down onto the oiled wire rack. With the tip of a sharp knife, separate cake edges from the bottom of the pan, if necessary. Remove and discard parchment paper. Allow cake(s) to cool completely, upside down. To speed up cooling, flip it/them over once.
  11. Slice in half, horizontally, and add your filling(s) of choice and top with your favorite topping.
  12. Serve immediately and freeze assembled, or sliced in half. Add parchment paper between the slices and store in freezer bags. Thaw at room temperature 1 - 2 hours, depending upon size.
  13. To Make the Strawberry Sauce:
  14. Whisk together water and tapioca flour in a small saucepan.
  15. Add strawberries and sugar; stir gently with a fork. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until thickened, about 1 minute.
  16. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled or place in the freezer to speed up cooling. Stir occasionally. Do not allow to freeze. Use to layer shortcake slices with sweetened whipped cream and/or cooled chocolate ganache.


Double this recipe for a 3-layer sponge cake using three 8-inch round pans. Keep baking time to 25 minutes.

If you prefer to make smaller, mini shortcakes, bake in 2 batches, filling 4 mini pans between 1/4 and 1/3 the way with batter and lessen baking time, if needed. Repeat with 4 clean pans.

This batter will also fit in a a 9x9x2-inch square pan/dish.

If you desire to make 5 mini shortcakes, fill each about half way full.

Reserve 4 - 5 strawberry halves before cooking the strawberry sauce. Once the sauce is chilled, coat with the sauce and add to the top of the cake for garnish.

*Gluten free strawberry jam or preserves may be substituted for the strawberry sauce.

10 Replies to “Gluten Free Sponge Cake”

  1. Hello!

    I’m new to gluten-free baking (really to baking in general…just got my Kitchenaid stand mixer last month!), and I have a couple questions. First – for beating the egg yolks and sugar, should I use the whisk or paddle attachment on my mixer?

    Second – I live at high altitude, so do I need to make any changes to account for that?

    Also, I’m planning to make the ladyfinger recipe, and would like to take them with me when I visit my sister to make a cake out there (I don’t want to have to get all the ingredients and supplies out there). Would they keep long enough if I make them the day before I fly out, and then freeze them as soon as I get to her place until we’re ready to use them?


    1. Hi Kelly,

      Wow! For a newbie baker, you have chosen a challenging recipe! Piping out batter is not often easy.

      For high altitude baking, see this page –

      I would freeze the ladyfingers on a flat surface lined with parchment paper. Then store them in freezer bags in the freezer. Then refreeze them when you arrive. The longer they stay defrosted, the faster they stale.

      Always use the whisk attachment unless otherwise stated.

      Welcome to gluten free baking! Have fun!


      1. I actually plan to use a Twinkie pan, so I won’t have to pipe them. And the ladyfingers are for a favorite family recipe that we always make when we get together, and now I need a gluten free substitute, and I can’t find any pre-made (except ladyfinger cookies, which won’t work). Thanks for the help!


  2. I made this last might for a dinner party and it came out wonderfully. Everyone loved it! My hubby (gluten sensitive) loved that it didn’t have an obviously gluten-free taste/texture.
    I used coconut sugar, so it came out looking more like a gingerbread but it stayed moist 4 hours at room temp in a Tupperware container. (I was a little worried with your comment on serving immediately or freezing)

    1. Hi Missy,

      FYI – I just updated this recipe. If you’d like to take a look at what the inside of the cake looks like, take a peak at my tiramisu recipe: .

      In regards to substituting honey for sugar, is a bit trickier than other types of sugar. Honey makes baked goods softer, and will require additional gums, whether they be xanthan or guar gum. Your friend may wish to increase the xanthan gum in my Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend, or add some additional gum to this recipe. My cake flour blend contains 2/3 teaspoon per cup, therefore, I would suggest experimenting by adding about 1/4 teaspoon to start. In addition, the liquid will need to be reduced. If making a single recipe it calls for 1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon of water. I would reduce the water as much as 1/4 cup, no more.

      It is best to freeze any unconsumed cake, as honey tends to soften baked goods by grabbing the moisture in the air, and all baked goods do this in the refrigerator. You will need to expect, though, that the cake will taste like honey, and it will be more dense, as the sugar crystals create a good crumb, where honey has no crystals.

      I hope it works out well! If your friend cannot have sugar, something is better than nothing, I suppose. I haven’t tried a sugar to honey conversion in this recipe. Each recipe tends to work out differently, as higher protein flours such as sorghum, millet, etc. absorb more liquid.

      Happy upcoming Thanksgiving to you!


  3. Hi, I just went to make the sponge cake and in the directions it tells you to add water but it’s not listed in the ingredients. Should there be water in the ingredients and how much? I can’t wait to try this!!

    1. I forgot about this, Tracy. I was out of town when someone brought this to my attention. The 1/4 cup of water is now added to the ingredients above. So sorry! My readers are my proofreaders, as well! :-)


  4. In the Ingredients list for GF Sponge Cake, you do not mention water, but Direction #4 says to pour in hot water. How much hot water? Thanks. Looks delicious!

    1. Oh gee, Jeannie,

      I don’t recall anything about the water. I’m out of town right now, but when I get back home this weekend and settle in I will look up in my Joy of Cooking cookbook to see what I may have done.

      By the way, I froze a couple of these and my husband stated that it still seemed pretty fresh.


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