Fairylike Genoese Sponge

Fairylike Genoese Sponge

Gluten-free, dairy-free, gum-free, low-FODMAP sponge cake that is so light and airy that you'll feel yourself taking flight with Tinker Bell. Created for Prinsesstarta!

By DeliberateFare.com, variation of Mary Berry's genoese sponge from chocolatines recipe ft in Baking Bible

After failure - failure - failure - MANY failure, the forecast was not looking too sunshiny for my goal of baking a perfectly spongy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and gum-free sponge cake. In case you are wondering, I am mimicking my adorable preschooler niece's weather reports this summer when we had days on end of lightning, AKA MANY lightn'in!

So many lovely cake recipes call for a light, moist sponge cake. You know, the type of cake that I imagine little fairies use as mini mattresses and pillows so that their glistening fairy wings stay beautifully glittery and airy. Well, creating one of these cakes and making it free of wheat, dairy, and gums (so that it would be easy to digest) appeared to be as far fetched as having Tinker Bell sprinkle pixie dust over my head and making me take flight!

I never say never, unless discussing Neverland or J. M. Barrie, of course. Once at camp, I received the Determination Award. Seriously, I do not give up! How could I let a little, yellow cake get me down. After many failures, I found a few tips from online chef reports about how to make gluten-free cakes lighter. Bingo! That's all it took! Determination, research, and a little clapping of hands (I believe in fairies and so should you!)! OK, so my pixie dust here was simply adding an extra egg white to make the batter have more lift, double-sifting the flours to ensure stability and even distribution in batter, and using two tsp of ground flax seeds per 1 cup of flour to make things bind together sans gluten. Using the Mary Berry recipe, I also substituted my gluten-free flour blend for regular flour and coconut oil for butter.

Current sponge outlook: success - success - success - MANY success!


For Coating
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (hardened/room temperature)
  • 1 Tbsp potato starch (this is NOT the same thing as potato flour; you may substitute tapioca flour/tapioca starch; I use Bob's Red Mill)
For Batter
  • 3 eggs plus 1 additional egg white, at room temperature
  • 75 g caster sugar (also known as sanding sugar or very fine sugar; I use India Tree)
  • 65 g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 40 g coconut oil, melted and allowed to set at room temperature for 10 minutes


    For Coating
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 inch circular baking pan following instructions for Line a Circular Baking Pan.
  2. Using 1 Tbsp coconut oil, grease exposed parchment paper to prevent cake from sticking.
  3. If using sponge cake for Prinsesstarta, double the recipe and use two baking pans.
  4. Pour 1 Tbsp potato starch into bottom of greased and lined pan. Gently move pan around to thoroughly coat parchment with starch; don't forget the sides. Gently invert pan over sink and tap exterior of pan to dislodge any excess starch. Set aside pan.
  5. For Batter
  6. In the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with whisk attachment), add eggs and the additional egg white. Add to bowl caster sugar. Mix on high speed until mix is thick and light-colored; it should form a thick ribbon that holds it shape for 3 seconds when the whisk is lifted up and batter is allowed to drip.
  7. Into large bowl, sift together gluten-free self-raising flour blend, ground flax seeds, and corn starch. Sift a second time. Set aside.
  8. After eggs and sugar are nice and thick, remove bowl from mixer. Into bowl, gently sift one-half of flour mixture. Working gently with a silicon spatula (do not pull out a whisk here, friend), gingerly fold the flour into the egg mixture. Proper folding means moving the spatula from top of the batter at 12 o'clock down through bottom of batter and back up to surface of batter to end at 6 o'clock; then turn entire bowl two hours clockwise; repeat, over and over until all flour has been carefully incorporated. There is no mixing or any vigorous stirring. The goal is to keep the nice fluffy air pockets in tact.
  9. Into bowl, add one half of room-temperature, melted coconut oil to the inner edge of batter where it meets the interior of the bowl, basically, around the batter's circumference (boom! Geometry!). Gently fold oil into batter.
  10. Repeat flour folding followed by oil folding for the remaining one half of each item.
  11. Gently pour batter into pan.
  12. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and sponge bounces back when gently pressed with finger.
  13. Remove pan from oven and turn off oven.
  14. Allow pan to cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan by lifting up the extra slack in the parchment paper and inverting cake into your hand. Allow to cool on cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing, filling, or decorating.
  15. For Prinsesstarta, slice each cake into two equal horizontal layers using long, serrated knife. Discard (or stuff your face with, as I do) one of the top layers. Use the three layers for assembling the Princess Cake. The top layer will be inverted to become the top layer of sponge that fits over the dome of whipped cream.


  • Genoese Sponge refrigerates surprisingly well. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and then place into large plastic zip lock bag; store in refrigerator for up to two days. It stores better before being filled or decorated.
  • This recipe is great for making the sponge layers for a Prinsesstarta or Princess Cake; double the recipe for Prinsesstarta.
  • Genoese on its own with a smear of lemon curd or preserves is such a delicious little treat. It is especially special when cut with a small circular biscuit cutter to make individual servings fit for a pixie.