Never Fail Sponge Cake Recipe: A Birthday Favorite

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Birthdays are my favorite holidays of the year. They are, in my opinion, the only holidays you don’t have to share with someone. That is, unless you know somebody with your particular birthday. I do, but since it is my brother-in-law, and therefore family, I am willing to share.

October is a month filled with the birthdays of some of my favorite people, both past and present.  My best friend, Karen, started the month with her celebration on October 6th. As it wasn’t a “biggie” this year there was no need to hire a caterer and rent a function hall for a soiree like the one she put on for her 50th. But whatever she did, I am sure it was “over the top” as is everything she does. It is one of her most endearing qualities.

October is also the birth month of my father, who would have been 93 this year. A true Libra, my Dad was about as even-tempered as they come. Happy Birthday Dad! My other favorite Libran is my husband, Rich, who is inching his way towards official retirement age.

For Rich, birthday celebrations are all about food. For his special day, which we celebrated just last week, we went out to dinner with some great friends, who also own an inn on Cape Cod. Carnivore that he is, we went to the Brazilian Grill on Main Street in Hyannis. As the only authentic Churrascaria on Cape Cod, it has a loyal following. Churasco, a centuries old traditional Brazilian cooking method, is a unique way of roasting meat on a special grill. The meat is brought to your table on a sword and carved individually. A variety of meats including beef, pork, steak, and lamb are offered.  It’s a fun way to dine, and sheer delight for a devoted meat eater like Rich.

What really makes a birthday celebration, apart from the cards and presents, of course, is the cake. Now, given my drothers, that would have to be chocolate. But for Rich, who hates chocolate, it’s white cake with white frosting. Really, what’s the point?! But as a compromise, I present my mother’s famous “Never Fail Sponge Cake” recipe for those of you who don’t like chocolate but couldn’t possibly be satisfied with something as bland as white cake. This  is always the most requested cake for our family birthdays and makes a wonderful light summer dessert as well.

Never Fail Sponge Cake


  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder


  1. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until very light; add water.
  2. Sift together flour and baking soda; add to batter.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.
  4. Pour batter into well-greased small angel food pan.
  5. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes. Cool completely and invert onto cake platter.
  6. Prepare whipped cream and strawberries

To serve, slice cake in half and fill with half the whipped cream. Top with remaining whipped cream and strawberries. Serves 12-14