Cakes/ Desserts

Eggless Vanilla Sponge

Eggless Vanilla Sponge

I’d argue that this has to be the best eggless vanilla sponge recipe around, it’s also very easily veganised. It’s soft, fluffy and very light.

My family and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth if I’m honest. I guess being one of 3 dentists may have been a factor! But every birthday has been graced with this cake, without fail.

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.

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 vanilla sponge cake.

But Rish, could I just substitute eggs for this vanilla sponge 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 vanilla sponge.

Can I turn the vanilla sponge 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 277g of plain flour and 8g of baking powder (around 2 tsp), you will then still need to add the additional 1tsp baking powder in the recipe. In turn, making it a total of 3 tsps of baking powder. To note, baking powder is different from baking soda, they are not interchangeable.

Eggless Vanilla Sponge

Eggless Vanilla Sponge and Vanilla Buttercream

5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 18 cupcakes



  • 285 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 170 g sugar
  • 150 ml oil
  • 250 ml milk/plant milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp GROUND flaxseeds (not whole seeds)
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 100 g softened unsalted butter
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Method: (18 cupcakes or an 8″ round cake)

  • Preheat your oven to 160’C fan or 180’C conventional
  • Mix your ground flax with the water and allow to sit for 5 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, 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 of your flour mix, and fold the batter
  • Add your remaining milk, followed by the remaining flour, and continue to fold until all incorporated
  • Bake cupcakes for 17-20 mins
  • Check that a tooth pick comes our clean, if not continue to bake for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Mix your buttercream ingredients together and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes! Decorate once the cake has fully cooled.


See blog post above for information on layered cakes.
To check for done-ness, a toothpick should come out clean, if not then bake for a further 5 mins
Keyword birthday, buttercream, cupcake, dessert, frosting, pancakes, party, vanilla

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  • Reply
    Nita Bajaria
    April 30, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    5 stars
    Turned out very good and yummy 😋😋

  • Reply
    Kajal Halai
    June 27, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    5 stars
    This is the fluffiest sponge, great texture and soft! When I first had it I just thought wow, I created a whole cake and took it to work where it was demolished so that’s how you know it’s sublime! Definitely a recipe worth trying.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you for the lovely review Kajal! So satisfying to know that all your work enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Loved this recipe. We used this recipe to make a rainbow cake…..soooooo good!

    • Reply
      September 1, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you so much Mahek, the rainbow cake sounds incredible!

  • Reply
    Shreena Morjaria
    July 12, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    5 stars
    These cupcakes are delicious. So moist. Whole family loved them.

    • Reply
      September 1, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you Shreena for your lovely review, I’m glad to hear your entire family enjoyed these!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    5 stars
    Cake came out delicious, soft, spongy and super tasty. Not too sweet.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful comment!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    5 stars
    This is now my go to recipe. Easy to use even when baking with the kids and the sponge has never failed to impress all!!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      That means a lot Bhavna! It took quite some time perfecting this one but it’s my go-to cake recipe. Thank you for the lovely comment!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    5 stars
    Hands down the best eggless cake recipe that I’ve ever come across. I use this all the time as a base and add my own flavoring touch to it.
    Always comes out perfect!
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2022 at 3:07 pm

      Thank you so much Mayuri. This was the first recipe I ever developed (haven’t changed it since I was 14!) so it means the world to know you’re enjoying it too. Thank you for taking the time to provide such a lovely review 🙂

  • Reply
    Tina Patel
    January 9, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    5 stars
    I remember making this cake for the first time a few years ago it was hard to believe it was eggless. Literally don’t need a drink with it. This is my go to vanilla cake. Thanks again for a delicious recipe.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2023 at 2:07 pm

      That’s the best comment to hear! Music to my ears indeed! Thank you Tina!

  • Reply
    Mocha Sponge Cupcakes - Dish by Rish
    February 21, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    […] developed my base Eggless Vanilla Sponge recipe over a period of time, making subtle changes in each batch until it was perfect. It was […]

  • Reply
    May 12, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Could I add sprinkles into this and make it into a Funfetti cake?

  • Reply
    July 15, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Rish.
    Great site! And, I xan’t wait to try this.
    However, I am curious if you’ve tried the other common options and what your thoughts are on them? For example, almost every other eggless sponge recipe calls for milk and vinegar to create a ‘buttermilk’ which reacts with baking soda to cause the rising.

    A few others call for the soda to be added to yogurt and left to froth and then use that. These methods produced an inferior cake to yours?

    • Reply
      July 19, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks Sonny! And that’s a great question, I tested every known option I could think of when I developed this recipe (14 years ago now!). Each recipe is individual and hence the ingredients and methods will be tailored to the needs of that recipe. I personally don’t use baking soda in a lot of my bakes as it activates immediately when in contact with anything acidic, like buttermilk or yogurt for example. That means that the leavening action of the baking soda has already started before the cake has even been placed into the oven. If you take too long in getting the cake into the oven, the baking soda will have already reacted and the cake won’t rise. That’s why I’ve opted for baking powder (most modern day baking powders are double action), which is already a mixture of baking soda and an acid at the optimum ratio. You get maximum leavening and the optimum ratio between acid and base. I hope that helps!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Rish
    You are an absolute legend. I cannot believe the results of this recipe, especially at the start where it looks like it was going to fail. After adding the milk to the flax-sugar-oil, I had a thick, glutinous web structure that looked completely wrong. Then it improved after the second addition of milk. The resulting cupcakes were absolutely perfect! I normally use paper liners but had run out and I used silicone moulds for the first time, but after a patient cooling time of 30+ mins they peeled off beautifully to reveal a lovely soft spongy cupcake. I cannot tell you how happy I am. I halved your recipe but I read somewhere that the baking powder should stay the same (roughly). I did not half the flax egg either, But I think it may be better if I did.
    Really, a big ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart.

    Are the various buttercream recipes on your site suitable for piping?

    I rarely make cakes but when I do, I go all out. For these cakes I used butter and icing sugar with a tsp of lemon juice and a (cheats method) couple tBsps of ‘treats’ raspberry sauce. It was lovely but sooo sweet. Without the sugar and a bit of corn flour, it wouldn’t hold it shape. I might but it with a bit of whipped cream From now on all use Philadelphia (whichever helps hold it shape) better for a couple hours.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Rish. Just to add: I’m curious to try the recipe with yogurt instead of milk. Probably whisked with water to thin it down a bit. Is this something you have tried? It’s hard to improve on perfection, but it’s just that we often have excess yogurt in the fridge which no one uses.

    • Reply
      September 2, 2023 at 6:27 pm

      it will work, but will give you a slightly different flavour. Milk adds more richness than yogurt but you’ll get a bit of a tang with the yogurt

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