Chinese Sponge Cake

To the Chinese, cakes are normally steamed rather than baked. Today, I steamed a very simple Chinese sponge cake made primarily from eggs. Total time taken to prepare this cake is less than an hour with 25 minutes for steaming.


Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (can substitute vanilla if desired)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (can substitute regular milk if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted


I made a Green Tea Sponge Cake with the addition of one tablespoon of green tea powder (which was shifted with the dry ingredients). The colour turned out to be brown rather than green. I wonder why. Nevertheless, I like the green tea flavour.Here are the directions:

IMG_3203_edited-1The baking powder and flour are sifted together and set aside.
IMG_3206_edited-1Mix the evaporated milk with the melted butter first. Then add the baking soda to it. Again, set it aside.
IMG_3212_edited-1.6Beat eggs in a large bowl.

Mix in the sugar and the almond extract. Make sure that the sugar is dissolved.

IMG_3213_edited-1.7You then mix in the milk/baking soda/butter mixture to the eggs/sugar. Blend thoroughly using a whisk.
IMG_3216_edited-1.7Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until completely blended.

Pour the mixture into a greased cake pan. I use a pie dish about 9-inch.

IMG_3229_edited-1Bring the water to boil in a large pan.

Steam the cake for 25-30 minutes. Use a toothpick to check when the cake is done.

Remove the cake from the pan and slice. Best served when warm. Enjoy!

If you like steamed cake recipes, check out the following:

75 thoughts on “Chinese Sponge Cake

  1. Hi Suanne,

    I was wondering if I could use honey to replace sugar for making this sponge cake? If so, how much of honey should I use?

    Also, would using honey have any consequences in the outcome of the cake, such as affecting how the cake rises?

    I have tried making your cakes twice (once using vanilla and other using almond extract) and both turned out great so far – just that I overcook my cakes by letting it rest too long in the pan for more than 25 mins, causing a harder texture on the bottom of my sponge cakes. Now that I know to take it out promptly, I can correct my mistake and make a perfect sponge cake!

    Much appreciated,

  2. Hi there,
    A great website that you have here for steaming sponge cake! It is healthier than baking. May I ask, did you use salted butter in your recipe? From my baking knowledge, when you combine baking powder and salt with all-purpose flour, it helps the cake to rise. I noticed that salt was not added in your recipe so that was why I asked if you used salted butter. Thanks!

  3. Hi Suanne,
    Excellent recipe, thanks a lot! My oven is broken and I was looking for a good stove top cake recipe for my girlfriend birthday; this one worked perfectly. I have used it three times so far and all of them was a success, twice using 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and last one using vanilla and a little of nutmeg.
    It is so easy too, congrats!

    • Hi Sophie, I made this cake quite often and every time it turns out OK. It’s kind of hard to diagnose your problem unless I know exactly what ingredients you used and your steps. I can only guess that you could have left out the flour at this point.

      • The steps were the same, but I used self-raising flour instead of all-purposes flour. Is that the problem?

  4. After successfully trying the simple steamed banana cake, I tried this recipe and my god it looks soooooooo good and rised hugely :).

    My only question is that can I used vegetable oil instead of melted butter/margarine?

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