Cakes/ Desserts

Chocolate Sponge Cake

chocolate sponge

I’d argue that this has to be the best eggless chocolate sponge recipe around, it’s also very easily veganised. It’s insanely light and has the perfect amount of cocoa. The chocolate buttercream is essential.

I developed this recipe over a period of time, making subtle changes in each batch until it was perfect. It was developed to be eggless and I wanted it to be easily veganised. This process probably took me the course of an entire year, largely because I didn’t bake often.

chocolate sponge

How it works:

One of the eyebrow-raising ingredients here are the ground flax seeds, or sometimes known as linseeds. I tend to buy the golden variety and I usually purchase mine pre-ground as it saves the hassle of grinding these. It comes as a fine powder which forms this gelatinous egg-like substance when re-constituted with water. This process can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and I use the ratio of 1tbsp ground flax to 2tbsp cold water.

They help to bind baked goods by forming polysachharide chains which disperse during baking to form a network. These chains also trap moisture which helps to prevent dry baked goods, they even prevent gluten networks forming so you end up with more tender crumb structures. BUT, they are not an exact replacement for eggs, and an egg based recipe that calls for 4 eggs will not work by simply substituting 4 flax eggs, and vice versa – it doesn’t work as they are not the same ingredient and behave completely differently.

Eggs on the other hand are protein based and the protein strands form a network when exposed to heat, allowing for a stronger binding element. They help to build structure which is something that flax eggs can’t do (as it is starch based). Eggs can trap air between the protein network which is why they foam up and form airy meringues, which flax eggs again can’t do. For a vegan meringue, you would need to use an agent like aquafaba which does behave similarly to egg whites.

When it comes to replacing eggs in a recipe, in most cases you can’t simply rely on one sole egg-replacer but I’ve done all the thinking and testing for you here to make sure you guys end up with a perfect eggless chocolate sponge cake

But Rish, could I just substitute eggs into this recipe instead of using flax eggs?

The short answer is no, I don’t think so. I don’t bake with eggs so I can’t give you a direct yes or no answer but my hunch is no. If anyone does try, please let me know how it goes.

But if flax is not available or accessible, then leave it out. The recipe still works without flax, but there will be a couple of differences. Firstly, you run the risk of a slightly drier result as the flax traps in moisture. Secondly, the cake will be slightly crumbly as it’s lacking the additional binding. Just trust the process and you will have an incredible eggless chocolate sponge.

Can I turn this into a layered cake?

Yes, absolutely. With this recipe you can make:
1) 18 cupcakes – 17-20 mins bake time
2) 2x 7″ layers – 40 mins bake time
3) 1×8″ layer (thick layer) – 45-50mins bake time
4) 1×10″ layer (thin) – 40mins bake time

Can I substitute plain flour instead of self raising flour?

You can, it won’t give the exact same result but it will be close. In all my testing, self raising flour always provided the lightest texture. To substitute plain flour, you will want to use around 238g of plain flour and 7g of baking powder (just under 2 tsp), you will then still need to add the additional 1 tsp baking powder in the recipe. In turn, making it a total of just less than 3 tsps of baking powder. To note, baking powder is different from baking soda, they are not interchangeable.

chocolate sponge

Eggless Chocolate sponge and Chocolate Buttercream

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 people



  • 245 g self raising flour
  • 40 g cocoa I use @greenandblacks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 170 g sugar
  • 150 ml oil
  • 250 ml milk/plant milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp GROUND flax
  • 2 tbsp water

Choc butter cream (enough for one layer):

  • 100 g softened unsalted butter/vegan butter
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 25 g cocoa
  • 1 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  • Preheat your oven to 160’C fan or 180’C conventional
  • Mix your ground flax with the water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken
  • Mix your oil, sugar and vanilla together, either with a whisk or a paddle attachment on a mixer
  • In a separate bowl, mix your flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder
  • Add your flax mix to your oil and sugar mix once flax has thickened and continue to whisk
  • Add half your milk, and whisk
  • Sieve in half your flour mix and fold the batter
  • Add your remaining milk, followed by the remaining flour, and continue to fold until all incorporated
  • Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean


  • Whisk your unsalted butter, vanilla, and icing sugar, add the icing sugar gradually
  • Sieve in your cocoa powder and continue to whisk, add milk if required to loosen the mixture
  • Frost the cake once completely cooled


See  blog post for information on cupcakes and layers
Keyword birthday, buttercream, chocolate, chocolate cake, dessert, eggless, vegan

If you enjoyed this recipe, check out my vanilla sponge recipe below! (tap the image)

Eggless Vanilla Sponge

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  • Reply
    May 19, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    5 stars
    One of the best eggless chocolate cake recipe I’ve tried.

    • Reply
      May 19, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Thank you Dhavish, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it and many thanks for the 5 stars!

  • Reply
    Kalpesh Shah
    June 25, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    5 stars
    Hello – Would plain white flour work? I am not sure what is self rising flour. Many thanks

    • Reply
      July 3, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Kalpesh, all the information is in the blogpost regarding plain flour. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Serena Govender
    July 20, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    5 stars
    It really is the best sponge out there!Absolutely delicious 😋

    • Reply
      September 1, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you so much Serena, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my cake recipe!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    What size cake tin did you use Rish?

    • Reply
      March 5, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      I used a 7″ tin for the current photo, I hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Jaspal Mann
    December 22, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe, like all of Rishi’s, is simply perfect. An absolutely guaranteed light sponge gives a fantastic chocolate cake which I make over and over again.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2023 at 2:08 pm

      I am so humbled and flattered to read your incredible review. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a glowing review on this sponge!

  • Reply
    Tina Patel
    January 9, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    5 stars
    My son who is 5 years old only eats the oreo cake from only eggless. And now he only wants to eat this superb cake. Rishi I don’t know how you do it every single time but your recipes are are hit each and every time.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2023 at 2:06 pm

      This means the world Tina. Your kind words are hugely appreciated and I love that you guys are all enjoying this one!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing cake! I added a splash of balsalmic vinegar to help it rise. I’m sure it would have worked fine without, I’m just used to doing this in vegan cakes and wasn’t brave enough to venture out of my baking comfort zone.
    Soft and spongy – a real treat
    Thank You Rish

    • Reply
      March 8, 2023 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you so much for such a great review Ushi! That’s totally okay to do, but if it gives you any peace of mind the vinegar definitely isn’t needed. The acid needs to react with a base in order to create the reaction needed for rising. And as we’re not using bicarbonate of soda in this recipe, there is no base to react with 🙂 It won’t negatively impact the recipe either so if you prefer using it, go for it!

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