Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Hot Milk Sponge Cake is a very versatile cake that can be frosted with any flavor of frosting, used as a base for strawberry shortcake or split in half to use for the cake part of Boston Cream Pie! Hot Sponge Cake is almost as easy to prepare as a cake mix. The recipe has been in existence since at least the early 1900’s if not earlier. The method for making the cake batter for Hot Milk Sponge Cake is somewhat different than the traditional way of mixing a cake batter.

A Brief Background

It is my pleasure to be friends with Milly Kay. We have been playing mahjongg together almost every Thursday afternoon for the past 7 years.


Milly is an extraordinary woman. She grew up in Philadelphia and drove a trolley car there while her husband was away at war. She’s worked in a candy store wrapping chocolates. Whenever I picture her doing this I always chuckle because I’m reminded of the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ethel were working in a candy store and the candy was moving on the conveyor belt faster than they could wrap the pieces of candy. (If you haven’t seen this, see if you can find it on YouTube or somewhere – it’s too funny!)

Milly was trained to be a hairdresser but didn’t really have a chance to do this for very long because she married the love of her life, Robert Kay. She likes to tell her friends that Robert was born on 3/13/13 and she was born on 8/18/18. Pretty interesting numbers!

Here’s where the Hot Milk Sponge Cake comes into the story. Milly and Robert Kay were married in 1941. Milly’s mother-in-law gave her the recipe for Hot Milk Sponge Cake because Robert loved it. Almost every week during the many years that Robert worked, Milly baked him a Hot Milk Sponge Cake. She often frosted it with a frosting made of confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla. Occasionally Robert would ask for the cake without any frosting. For many years, a slice of Hot Milk Sponge Cake would accompany Robert’s lunch that he took to work with him.

I had never heard of Hot Milk Sponge Cake until Milly told me about it and she was kind enough to share her recipe with me.

The Methodology

The main difference in the way a Hot Milk Sponge Cake is mixed as compared with traditional cake batter is that the milk and butter are heated together at medium low heat until the butter melts.

While the milk and butter are heating, beat 4 eggs in a mixer for 3-4 minutes until they are light and frothy.

Be sure to grease and flour a tube pan or Bundt pan while the milk & butter are heating and the eggs are beating!

Once the eggs are frothy and lemon-colored, add the sugar and beat 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla extract.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. When butter has melted, remove milk/butter mixture from the heat. Alternate adding dry ingredients and liquid ingredients to the mixer. When all ingredients are well incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 350°F. for 45 minutes.

When cake tester comes out clean, remove cake from oven and cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan.

The Recipe

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 1/2 stick butter
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/2 cups flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour tube pan or Bundt pan.
  3. Place milk and butter into a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat until butter is completely melted. Set aside.
  4. Place 4 eggs in mixer bowl and beat until frothy and lemon-colored. Add sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes more.
  5. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Alternate adding liquid ingredients and dry ingredients to egg/sugar mixture in mixer.
  7. When batter is mixed completely, pour batter into prepared tube or Bundt pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.
  1. This is a great cake as is, but also Is delicious frosted or as a base for Strawberry Shortcake or Boston Cream Pie.

Parting Comments

Hot Milk Sponge Cake is a light, tender cake with a fine texture and a mild vanilla flavor. It’s delicious with or without frosting but makes a good cake for Strawberry Shortcake. I’ll treasure this recipe always because it was given to me by my friend Milly Kay, a woman of great faith and wisdom. Thanks Milly!

Won’t you try making Hot Milk Sponge Cake soon?

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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Hot Milk Sponge Cake – Retro Recipe — 46 Comments

  1. This looks really amazing! Thanks for sharing on the “What’s for Dinner” blog hop!

  2. Yum, that looks so good, especially with strawberries. How fun that it has such a neat story behind the recipe. Thank you for joining the Family Joy link party this week. ?

  3. what a very special recipe, Janet! Loved the story behind the recipe and I chuckled because that has to be one of my favorite episodes of “I Love Lucy.” Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week ?

  4. You have so many amazing recipes on your blog. Thanks for sharing with us all at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week. Have a wonderful week.

  5. Hi Kelly, This really is a wonderful cake – I hope you get a chance to try it! Glad you enjoyed my story too! Thanks for hosting “Social Butterfly Sunday”! Blessings, Janet

  6. Hi Charlene, Your kind comments made my day! Thanks for hosting Family Joy Blog Link Up Party! Have a great week! Blessings, Janet

  7. Hi Mimi, It really is a great cake – hope you get a chance to make it sometime! Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, Janet

  8. Thanks for the memories my Nanna used to make a hot milk sponge so I am keeping this recipe. Thanks for sharing on #overthemoon

  9. Hi Jennifer, I’m so glad my post brought back memories of your Nanna and her hot milk sponge cake. Thanks for hosting Over the Moon! Blessings, Janet

  10. I’ve never heard of hot milk sponge cake but it looks delicious. Will have to try it! Thanks for linking up with Funtastic Friday.

  11. Hi Victoria, I had never heard of it either until my friend Milly told me about it. My husband and I both really liked it. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, Janet

  12. I love old fashioned love stories, and the vintage recipes are the best. I’m sure that her cake is amazing, especially since she put so much love into it. Thank you for sharing such a special recipe!

  13. Love the story behind the recipe. Can you make this in another type of pan by chance?

  14. What a great cake, this looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  15. Oh my gosh…this is my kind of recipe. It sounds like the kind of thing where I can’t stop at just one piece…LOL! Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe with us at Share The Wealth Sunday! xoxo

  16. Hi Lisa, You’re right, it’s hard to stop after just eating one piece! It’s just as good plain as it is with strawberries! Thanks for hosting Share the Wealth Sunday! Blessings, Janet

  17. Hi Miz Helen, I think this cake is great even without fruit or frosting! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for hosting Full Plate Thursday! Blessings, Janet

  18. Hi Michelle, Yes, I believe you could use a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan, or 2 8″ round pans, or make cupcakes from this amount of batter. Thanks for hosting Party at my Place! Blessings, Janet

  19. Hi Julie, Glad you enjoyed the story behind the cake! This cake is good with or without strawberries or frosting! Thanks for stopping by today! Blessings, Janet

  20. I love sponge cake and haven’t found a good recipe. I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday. Pinned.

  21. Hi Erlene, I hope you like this sponge cake recipe. I had never had sponge cake before my friend Milly told me about it and both my husband and I really like it. Thanks for hosting Merry Mondays! Blessings, Janet

  22. Hi Ilka, Thanks for your comment and I hope you enjoy this sponge cake recipe! Thanks for hosting Sunday’s Fitness Food Link-Up! Blessings, Janet

  23. Wow, I love your post on Millie Kay and her sweet husband and their birthdays and the recipe looks wonderful!!! These stories must be preserved and thanks for doing that and for linking up with Funtastic Friday!

  24. Hi Sheri, So glad you enjoyed Milly’s story. Her cake is great, too! I’m blessed to have her as my friend. Thanks for your comments and for visiting! Blessings, Janet

  25. Thanks for sharing this on Dream Create and Inspire, the sponge cake looks very yummy.. if you have a few stop by and visit, love to hear from you

  26. Hi Maria, So nice to hear from you! My husband and I both really like the Hot Milk Sponge Cake so I hope you get a chance to try it sometime. I read on your website that you’re in the low country. I lived in SC for almost 10 years then moved back to my home state of NC. Hope you have a great week and thanks for hosting “Dream, Create, Inspire.” Blessings, Janet

  27. I’m loving this cake! I bet the sponge texture is wonderful. ? I’m featuring you this week on Inspire Me Monday! Congrats! ?

  28. I?ve never heard of hot milk sponge cake but it looks delicious. I will have to try it!

    Thank you for sharing with us at Sweet Inspiration party!! Have a wonderful week!

  29. Thanks, CJ! I’m honored that you selected the Hot Milk Sponge Cake to feature on Inspire Me Monday! I hope you get a chance to try it soon – it’s really good! ? Hope you have a great week also. Blessings, Janet

  30. Hi Pili, I had never heard of it either but I believe I like it as well or better than pound cake. Hope you get a chance to try it soon! Thanks for your comments and for visiting! Blessings, Janet

  31. This sounds so good! What a sweet and wonderful story to go with it! ? I love stories like this. Congrats on being featured on Over The Moon!

  32. Hi Martie, Thanks for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed Milly’s story – she’s an extraordinary woman! I’m very appreciative of being featured on Over the Moon. Thanks for visiting today! Blessings, Janet

  33. Looks and sounds amazing, I’m pinning! Thanks so much for linking up at You Link It, We Make It. Hope to see you back tomorrow!

  34. Hi April, So glad you liked the Hot Milk Sponge Cake. Thanks for pinning it! Love the name of your website! See you tomorrow! Blessings, Janet

  35. Handed down recipes are the best! Thanks for sharing at the Healthy Living Link Party. I pinned this recipe to the party board and my personal recipe board, too.
    Blessings, Leigh

  36. Hi Leigh, Thanks so much for pinning this recipe! It’s a special recipe to me because it was given to me by my friend, but it’s also quite delicious! Blessings, Janet

  37. What a fun story! The cake looks deliciously simple! Thanks for sharing on Weekend Bites!

  38. Hi Adelina, Glad you enjoyed the story, but the cake is even better! Hope you get to try it soon! Have a great week-end! Blessings, Janet

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