Mini Chinese Sponge Cake

Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes, also known as Ma Lai Gao, are a delightful treat that strikes a perfect balance between sweet and spongy. These miniature cakes are popular in Chinese bakeries and are beloved for their delicate texture and caramelized top. Baking them at home allows you to experience the warm aroma and the pleasure of creating a classic Asian dessert. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through making your own batch of Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes, so you can savor the taste of sweet elegance in every bite.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • A pinch of salt


Step 1: Preheat the Oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a muffin tin or use paper muffin liners for easy removal.

Step 2: Prepare the Batter

  1. In a mixing bowl, crack the eggs and beat them until they’re well combined.
  2. Gradually add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat the eggs. Beat until the mixture is pale and slightly thick.
  3. Mix in the whole milk and vegetable oil, and if you like, the optional vanilla extract.

Step 3: Combine Dry Ingredients

  1. In a separate bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; you want the batter to be smooth but not overworked.

Step 4: Fill the Muffin Tin

  1. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full. This should yield approximately 12 mini cakes.

Step 5: Bake the Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes

  1. Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 6: Cool and Serve

  1. Let the Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes cool in the muffin tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  2. Once they are fully cooled, they’re ready to serve.


Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes, or Ma Lai Gao, are a delightful bite-sized dessert that encapsulates the essence of sweet elegance. Baking them at home allows you to experience the simple pleasure of these spongy cakes with their caramelized top. Whether you’re enjoying them with a cup of tea, serving them to guests, or simply indulging in a sweet treat, these little cakes are sure to bring a touch of Asian culinary charm to your palate. So, preheat your oven, gather your ingredients, and delight in the taste of Mini Chinese Sponge Cakes, one delectable bite at a time.

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