Kenyan Sponge Cake/Mkate wa Mayai

Servings : Makes one 8" cake

The Kenyan Sponge Cake is more famously known as Mkate wa Mayai (literal translation means Bread of Eggs). It’s a very light and fluffy cake, that takes absolutely no time to prepare using minimal ingredients, and is really refreshing to have with a cup of tea or coffee. There is no butter or milk in this cake, and for the most part, the fluffiness is from the whipping of the eggs…just like a regular sponge cake. Only difference is, this one is flavoured with cardamom powder, giving it a warm and soothing flavour and aroma. The cake is normally served as it is, but you can serve it with ice-cream or whipped cream if you like.


  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white fine sugar (50gm)
  • 5 1/2 tbsp. flour (82.5gm)
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.

Prepare an 8″ baking pan by greasing and dusting it with flour or lining it with greaseproof paper.

Before you start, sift your flour with the baking powder 3-4 times. The more you sift the flour, the more air is incorporated and it will give you the most fantastic light and fluffy cake. So sift the flour several times then set it aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar plus cardamom powder in a bowl until fluffy (it will more than double in amount and thicken slightly, so make sure you beat it well) and all the sugar is dissolved, then gradually add the flour (you can even sift it into the bowl for added lightness) and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula until just incorporated. Do not over-mix the batter, and try FOLDING the flour into the egg mixture using light hands carefully so as not to deflate the eggs too much.

Pour the batter into your pan and sprinkle the raisins on top. I find that by lightly dusting the raisins in some flour prior to sprinkling them on the cake helps keep them from sinking into your cake.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake before turning it out.

Best eaten fresh, very light and enjoyable! If you need to store the leftovers (if there are any leftovers that is), wrap them up in cling film and refrigerate. 🙂

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