These paper-wrapped sponge cakes are just like the ones you find at your local Chinese bakery. They are light and airy, not too sweet, and a perfect treat for any time of day.

Chinese paper-wrapped sponge cakes on a wooden board.

What are paper-wrapped sponge cakes?

Paper-wrapped sponge cakes are a delightful and iconic treat originating from Chinese bakeries. These miniature sponge cakes are characterized by their light and airy texture. They are similar to a chiffon cake but baked in special individual cake molds lined with parchment paper.

The cake molds:

Traditionally, these sponge cakes are baked in flower-shaped metal cake tins, but these seem to be more readily available in Asia than the US or Canada. So I just used my Popover pan which serves as a multipurpose use or this tall jumbo Wilton muffin pan works too.

Overhead view of paper-wrapped sponge cakes on a wooden board with teapot and teacup.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Simple ingredients – No special ingredients, just your everyday pantry staples plus milk and eggs are all you need for these mini cakes.
  • Easy to make – This recipe is incredibly easy to make. All you have to do is whisk all the wet ingredients together, mix in the dry ingredients, beat the egg whites until stiff, fold together, and bake.
  • Perfect taste and texture – These mini sponge cakes are fluffy and cottony soft. They have a subtle hint of vanilla and custard with just the right amount of sweetness to balance the delicate flavors.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • large eggs
  • vegetable oil (or any neutral-tasting oil)
  • milk (any kind, dairy or plant-based)
  • cake flour (storebought or DIY)
  • baking powder
  • cream of tartar (white vinegar or lemon juice works too)
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract

How to make paper-wrapped sponge cakes:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

how to make Chinese mini sponge cakes steps 1-4
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Whisk again until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk batter, 1/3 at a time until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into a parchment paper-lined popover pan or tall jumbo muffin pan, filling about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
images of how to fill cake pan for paper-wrapped sponge cakes

Expert tips:

  • Lining your pan – It’s important to line your pan with parchment paper that extends above the top edge. These sponge cakes rise quite a bit during baking and need the support. For my popover pan, I cut 7.5″ squares out of parchment paper and followed this lining technique from Bake From Scratch.
  • Beating the egg whites – Make sure to take your time beating your egg whites to stiff peaks. This provides the structure and makes the cakes tall and fluffy.

FAQ:

How to store paper-wrapped sponge cakes:

Store the cakes in an airtight container for 3-4 days at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Can I freeze paper-wrapped sponge cakes?

Yes, place the completely cooled cakes in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter for 2-3 hours to bring to room temperature before serving.

close up of a paper-wrapped sponge cake teared in half

You might also like:

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Paper-Wrapped Sponge Cakes

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 mini cakes
  • Category: dessert, breakfast, snack
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

These paper-wrapped sponge cakes are just like the ones you find at your local Chinese bakery. They are light and airy, not too sweet, and a perfect treat for any time of day.


Ingredients

Egg yolk batter:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (90g) cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Meringue:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 6-cup popover pan or tall jumbo muffin pan with parchment paper that extends over the rim.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Whisk again until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy and add the cream of tartar. Gradually add in the sugar while beating. Continue beating until stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk batter, 1/3 at a time until just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Immediately remove the cakes from the pan and lay them on their sides to cool on a cooling rack.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Keywords: Chinese paper-wrapped sponge cake recipe

Recipe adapted from What to Cook Today