Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

This light and fluffy Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting is elegant and simple, and the cake itself is dairy-free. Top with any seasonal fruits of your choice, such as strawberries, raspberries, or even a mix of fruits. 

vanilla sponge cake with mascarpone frosting on cake stand

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas celebration and a wonderful start to 2017. What are your New Years’ resolutions?

In 2017, I hope to breathe extra life into Eat, Little Bird. What started out as a little hobby where I could share my favourite recipes and dabble in some food photography has, over the past five years, blossomed into a successful creative venture and I am excited to push the boundaries a bit further in 2017.

My first goal is to publish more regularly, with 1-2 new recipes every week!

Since my youngest child started attending daycare late last year (for only a few days a week), this has allowed me to focus more on the blog, and the feedback I have received so far is that you are all enjoying the regular new stream of recipes 🙂

And it makes sense – my goal is that each time you visit this website, you will find new posts and recipes to enjoy.

vanilla sponge cake with physalis

Recipes on Eat, Little Blog

The Recipe Index has also been updated with a new search function to allow you to more easily look for recipes by meal type, cuisine, and even by ingredient!

In the past few months, several readers have contacted me with recipe requests, and nothing delights me more than to hear from my readers and any suggestions they might have for this blog.

The blog is, after all, for you to enjoy, so if you have any ideas or recipe suggestions, or even your own recipes which you wish to share, I would love to hear from you!

vanilla sponge cake with mascarpone frosting on cake stand with physalis berries

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

To celebrate the start of 2017, I thought it would be fitting to share one of my favourite cake recipes – a Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting.

The cake in the photos is what I made for the family to celebrate my son’s birthday a few months ago.

He had a little party with his friends for afternoon tea, and had requested the same chocolate Dinosaur Cake which I had made for him the previous year.

So for the evening, I wanted to make something a bit different (and less sugary!), but still celebratory.

dinosaur cake on Tupperware stand
{Dinosaur Cake v2.0}

How to Decorate a Vanilla Sponge Cake

This recipe for Vanilla Sponge Cake is one I turn to most often when I just want to make a plain cake but jazz it up with a Mascarpone Frosting or other fancy icing.

When I first made this Vanilla Sponge Cake, I used to cover it simply with whipped cream. I since added mascarpone to make it creamer and to give it more stability, thus making it easier to spread on the cake, especially around the sides.

I make this Vanilla Sponge Cake most frequently in summer when I will simply cover it with freshly whipped cream and decorate it with sweet strawberries or other seasonal fruits.

My son happens to love physalis berries, which are pretty much the only berries worth eating at the moment where we live, but you can decorate this cake however you like.

I once made this cake for a birthday party and simply decorated it with coloured sprinkles – the kids absolutely loved it!

The chocolate frosting from my Easy Chocolate Cake recipe would work great here, as well as a cream-cheese frosting.

vanilla sponge cake with berries

What I especially love about this Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe is that it is dairy-free, so the sponge is very light and fluffy. It reminds me of the sponge cakes that you can find in Chinese or other Asian bakeries, and maybe that is why I like this recipe so much – it’s a cake which I was fond of eating as a child.

How did my son like this Vanilla Sponge Cake compared to the chocolate Dinosaur Cake? He ate every crumb and asked for more ❤


Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

vanilla cake physalis

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6-8
  • Category: Cakes
  • Cuisine: French

This light and fluffy Vanilla Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Frosting is elegant and simple, and the cake itself is dairy-free. Top with any seasonal fruits of your choice, such as strawberries, raspberries, or even a mix of fruits. 


For the sponge cakes

For the cream frosting

  • 250 ml (1 cup) double cream
  • 250 g (9 oz) mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fruit to decorate the cake, such as strawberries, raspberries, Physalis berries


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Butter and line two 20cm (8 inch) round cake pans with baking paper.
  3. Separate the eggs. Place the eggwhites into the bowl of a stand mixer, and place the egg yolks into a separate mixing bowl (preferably a second bowl of a stand mixer).
  4. Add a pinch of salt to the eggwhites and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add the caster sugar and vanilla to the egg yolks and beat gently. Fold the flour and baking powder through the egg yolk mixture.
  6. Gently fold through the whisked eggwhites into the batter, a few large scoops at a time.
  7. Pour the batter into both cake tins evenly, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes are lightly golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing them from the cake tins. Let the cakes cool completely before icing the cake.
  9. Make the frosting by whisking the cream until it is softly whipped. Add the mascarpone and vanilla extract, and continue whisking until the mixture is thick enough to ice the cake.
  10. Place one cake on a serving plate or cake stand, and place four strips of baking paper underneath. The baking paper is to keep the serving plate or cake stand clean whilst you ice the cake.
  11. Generously spread some of the cream frosting over the top of the cake.
  12. Place the second cake on top, and spread the remaining cream frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Carefully remove the strips of baking paper.
  13. Decorate the cake with fruit of your choice. The cake is also lovely simply decorated with coloured sprinkles.

Kitchen Notes

As this cake does not contain any butter, it is lactose-free and suitable for anyone who has a lactose or dairy intolerance. However, the mascarpone cream frosting contains lactose. To make this cake completely lactose-free, I would suggest something like this Whipped Coconut Cream.

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Serving Size: Serves 6 to 8
  • Calories: 408
  • Sugar: 26.9g
  • Sodium: 176.4mg
  • Fat: 20.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 46.9g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Protein: 9.7g
  • Cholesterol: 189mg

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Vickie 7 January 2017

    the cake looks so lovely!

    sounds delicious too – I’ve never even seen a physalis berry (I had to google them), but they sound yummy too 🙂

    • Eat, Little Bird 15 January 2017

      Thanks, Vickie! These berries are not so commonly available, but they seem to be quite popular in desserts in the winter where we live. My son has a soft spot for all berries, including these ones!

  2. Ruby & Cake 8 January 2017

    This cake looks like pure cake perfection – so light and summery 🙂 The dinosaur cake is hecka adorable too.

    • Eat, Little Bird 15 January 2017

      Aww thank you 🙂 My son keeps asking for another dinosaur cake soon!

  3. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four 10 January 2017

    What a beautiful cake, Thanh! Love the gorgeous way you topped it. I can imagine how delightful the texture of this cake was too. Looking forward to more of your wonderful recipes and stunning photography <3

    • Eat, Little Bird 15 January 2017

      Thank you, Beeta! I absolutely love this cake. Maybe you’ve had something similar if you are familiar with French cakes? I look forward to more of your lovely recipes too 🙂

  4. Megan Marlowe 28 January 2017

    Not only is this cake absolutely gorgeous, it sound incredible too. My son loves dinosaurs so he would have loved that!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2017

      Thanks, Megan! The dinosaur cake has been a hit two years in a row … it will be funny if he asks for it again next year 😉

  5. Lisa | Garlic & Zest 28 January 2017

    This is the most beautiful cake ever! What are those leaves that you’ve decorated it with? They are just stunning. My efforts at cake decorating look so pedestrian compared to yours. I bow to the master!

  6. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine 28 January 2017

    Love your dinosaur cake 🙂 I need to get creative like that for my son who loves dinos. I love marscapone as a frosting! So light and fluffy!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2017

      Thank you! The dinosaur cake is easier than it looks … or it is certainly easier the second time around! 😉

  7. Platter Talk 28 January 2017

    Beautiful cake. The top of your cake are called ground cherries where I grew up. They sure are beautiful atop beautiful!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2017

      Oh I didn’t know they had another name! Much easier to remember than Physalis 🙂 They are certainly very beautiful for decorating cakes.

  8. Diana 28 January 2017

    That cake is absolutely gorgeous! Tomorrow is my friend’s 22nd birthday and I want to bake her a cake. I think that I will try this but I need to buy eggs to make this, as I don’t think that I have 6 eggs at the moment. Bookmarking to try tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2017

      The eggs help the sponge to rise. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

  9. Tracy Koslicki 28 January 2017

    #CakeGoals. And blog posting goals! Good job! Daycare is hard at first, but the freedom it gives is so great!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2017

      Oh I agree! My daughter wasn’t settling in very well at first, so that made it a bit more difficult to leave her there. But she only goes 2 days a week to daycare, and I think she is slowly understanding that it’s time for her to play, make friends and explore 🙂

  10. Alyssa 28 January 2017

    I’m obsessed with how beautiful this cake is. The decoration on the top is so gorgeous and rustic and amazing!

  11. Rose 14 March 2018

    I made this cake on the weekend and decorated with fresh strawberries. It was perfect! Thank you!

  12. Julia 16 April 2018

    Can’t wait to try this one! Please give me a piece! This is absolutely fantastic!!!

  13. Abbey 12 June 2020

    Hi, I would like to make a strawberry chiffon cake for my father’s birthday. I can’t seem to find a good one or there’s no recipe for one. Please help. Thank you ?

    • Eat, Little Bird 16 June 2020

      Hi Abbey,
      Sorry but I don’t have a recipe for a chiffon cake … yet. It is one of my favourite cakes! But I do have a recipe for an Angel Cake which will hopefully be published shortly.